More Patient Engagement, Please! 50th Drug Information Association Annual Meeting 2

Photo from DrugInfoAssn Facebook page.

Photo from DrugInfoAssn Facebook page.

Two weeks ago, I was pleased to have the opportunity to attend the 50th Annual Drug Information Association (DIA) Annual Meeting.  The DIA meeting brings together more than 7,000 life sciences professionals from all over the world. This year, the event celebrated its 50 year anniversary.

Like Partnerships in Clinical Trials and Disruptive Innovations in Pharma, the DIA conference, for the most part, is conducted by industry professionals for industry professionals. Its focus is primarily on drug development, regulation and research.  But, in the last few years, the center of the conference, like the center of the industry, is being pulled toward incorporating more of the patient’s perspective to help improve research and drug development.

The inclusion of a keynote address by Jamie Heywood of Patients Like Me, and of  The Walking Gallery, a patient empowerment movement founded by Regina Holliday, were indicators of the changing tide. It was wonderful to see that among top industry professionals, there is no longer a question of whether there’s a need to engage patients in discussions around drug development—it’s now more a question of “how.”

How do we meet patients where they are and provide the right channels for gathering feedback from patients? And what are the best ways to put the information we share about our clinical trials in the patient’s context, instead of only in the researcher context?