Patient Think Tank – Why Bother? (Guest blog)

4.30am taxi, 6am Eurostar, Metro to TrÔne and a dash for an EFPIA Patient Think Tank Meeting – what makes it worth it? (OK, so COVID has meant that it’s done virtually, but you get the drift).
The EFPIA Patient Think Tank is a unique forum. Consisting of both Patient Groups and EFPIA pharmaceutical member companies, and run by a steering committee with equal representation, it serves a number of purposes.
First and foremost, it’s about building trust, the realisation that we have a huge amount in common. We all want progress in research. We all want access to innovative medicines. We all want a strong patient voice in everything to do with healthcare. There are areas where there can of course be differences too! Intellectual property, access to clinical trials, information to patients are examples of key topics of discussion. It is great to talk and understand each other’s perspective. That is the essence of the Think Tank. Recent agendas have included patient input into complex clinical trials, particularly in children, transparency of clinical trial data, how patients can find clinical trials, and how codes of practice can guide the relationship between patients and industry.
The Think Tank also crucially allows EFPIA to have a patient sounding board for its committees and working groups, to give life to the oft-repeated phrase of being ‘patient centric’. It allows us to  create position papers, guidelines and activities comprehensively taking into account the views of patient organisations.
It’s an inspiring and motivating place to be! The combination of people from across Europe, who are passionate about their cause, the patient organisations representatives, providing a strong voice for their patient communities across Europe and the industry representatives – all keen to champion the voice and views of patients and bring these views into the heart of how industry conducts itself in Europe, with a joint goal of bringing new innovative medicines to patients that really need them.
Tangible outputs have included the Healthcare Collaboration Awards and guidance on Working Together with Patient Groups
And then it’s the 8pm Eurostar and 10pm back home – and we’ll gladly do it all again very soon.

Paul Robinson

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