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PC's new editor-in-chief details his thought process on familiarizing himself with a different side of the industry
Welcome to the April 2022 issue of Pharmaceutical Commerce, the first for me as the publication’s editor. As former Editorial Director Michael Christel indicated in his introduction to the last issue (February), his recent promotion to a new role at Pharma Commerce’s parent company, MJH Life Sciences, now takes him away from the day-to-day oversight of the magazine; however, as group managing editor, Mike will still be playing a major part in informing and shaping PC’s content. I look forward to working with him to maintain the quality and consistency he and Associate Editor Nicholas Saraceno have brought to the publication since it became part of the MJH stable in June 2020.
Over the last couple of years particularly, many trade and B2B magazine editors have had to juggle, assess, and prioritize the assorted contributions for any particular issue without leaving their desks, but I know from experience that I’ll need to get into the weeds a bit more in the coming months, interviewing experts and getting out to conferences to really understand the Pharma Commerce world and the latest thinking around it. Fortunately, the climate for industry events is improving again and in-person conferences are making more of a return in 2022. On that note, I’ll be attending LogiPharma in Nice, France (April 5–7), which looks to offer a thorough and expansive introduction to the current challenges and opportunities prevalent in the global pharma supply chain space. I look forward to harnessing some of the ideas and expertise from that show to inform our upcoming issues; I also hope that this and other events give me the chance to catch up with some of Pharma Commerce’s readers, contributors, and would-be contributors to keep those ideas coming!
As for this April issue of Pharma Commerce, coming from its sister publication, Pharmaceutical Executive, I’m no stranger to the term “patient centricity.” But in familiarizing myself with some of the thinking and practices around this month’s focus on patient support and hub services, I realized that I’d perhaps fallen into some of the lazy thinking around the idea of “the patient” that has arguably prevented pharma companies from radically advancing their patient-centricity strategies since the term was first mooted well over a decade ago.
One of my first assignments for PC was to speak to the editors/co-authors of a new book from global professional services firm ZS called Reinventing Patient Centricity. I found this conversation with Hensley Evans and Sharon Suchotliff somewhat revelatory, not least in their suggestion that the word “patient” itself might have run its course, with growing calls from the advocacy community for a term that carries less stigma and promotes a more human view of those who are suffering from a particular condition or diseases. More immediately impactful, though, is Evans and Suchotliff’s benchmarking of a number of pharma firms that reveals no company has yet implemented any real “transformational change” in the patient-centricity space, and their argument that some of the patient-support advances brought about by COVID-19 were not only very implementable well before the pandemic, but were also well known to be implementable.
All of this, of course, leaves room for patient support/hub services providers to expand their efforts to further “humanize” patients in the eyes of the pharma industry and to encourage improved offerings that really take the patient’s needs into account. As Evans and Suchotliff conclude, their aim is not to disparage pharma but to expand the scope of the conversations around patient centricity and to truly “make it a reality.”
Julian Update is Pharmaceutical Commerce's Editorial Director. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.