‘Previously, we were very, very patient-centric - we consulted patients when developing their protocols. But we have been distracted by the regulatory hurdles that we now have, as well as the different needs in disease areas. What’s happening now is the pendulum effect when we realise we’ve been a little distracted by other things and we need to give patients more time and more involvement in clinical development.’
Despite concerns with how clinical trials are currently run, Anna Matranga, Managing Director at AMC Alliances and Consulting, is positive about the future of patient-centricity within clinical trials. Social media platforms have increased the exposure pharma companies now have to the patient’s voice and they are increasingly meeting the obligation of listening to patients. Making patients ‘key stakeholders in clinical development’ in turn ensures involvement from the early stages.
The implementation of new technology is another area seeing major changes within clinical trials, but Matranga highlights a number of issues still challenging adoption. She suggests that ‘there still needs to be investment in efforts to bring the technology on board and make it compatible with the systems we have already put in place’. There needs to be a movement from a focus on the supplier, towards technology that compensates for systems already in use, allowing pharma companies to focus more on the patient. Matranga see this as the potential outcome from ever more user-friendly technology.
Collaboration in clinical trials
The relationships between all parties involved in trials are becoming increasingly important as the complexity of these relationships evolve. What was once just the sponsor/CRO relationship, has now developed into ‘CROs and the sites, as well as pharma and sites’. Matranga acknowledges that ‘we need to take into account that our collaborations may become complex, but they need to involve the right stakeholders…we need to be more conscious and focussed on where those relationships lie and what our objectives are’.
She again emphasises that such collaborations should be developed with the patient placed at the centre as the key stakeholder. Indeed, Matranga believes that ‘human to human relationships’ are likely to see the biggest change within clinical trials in 2017:
‘We can meet all of the regulatory requirements, all of the end points we need in clinical trials, we can have all of the technology, but let’s not forget who we are. We are pharma companies and CROs working with people together for the best outcomes for certain patients in certain disease areas.’
The ultimate outcome should be to foster relationships within clinical trials, both professionally between partnerships, and towards a patient-centric system, to ‘make our lives better, both in the professional world and in the personal world’.
Anna Matranga is speaking at Partnerships in Clinical Trials Europe 2017, with over 1000 clinical professionals gathering in Amsterdam on 28-29 November. Book here before Friday 7th July to save up to £900.