Channeling the Passion of the Patient Voice

  • by: |
  • 08/06/2014

One of the hallmark pieces of FDASIA enshrines the concept of patient-focused drug development. Per the FDA’s own website:

Patients who live with a disease have a direct stake in the outcomes of the drug review process and are in a unique position to contribute to the entire medical product development enterprise.  Under FDASIA, the FDA will increase patient participation in medical product regulation.

  • Patient Participation in Medical Product Discussions under FDASIA. Sec. 1137 of the new law will assist the agency in developing and implementing strategies to solicit the views of patients during the medical product development process and consider their perspectives during regulatory discussions.  This will include:
    - Fostering participation of FDA Patient Representatives as Special Government Employees in appropriate agency meetings with medical product sponsors and investigators; and,
    - Exploring means to provide for identification of potential FDA Patient Representatives who do not have any, or have minimal, financial interest in the medical products industry.
  • Patient-Focused Drug Development under PDUFA V. The PDUFA V agreement provides for a new process enhancement under a commitment that will provide a more systematic and expansive approach to obtaining the patient perspective on disease severity or the unmet medical need in a therapeutic area to benefit the drug review process.  In other words, the patient perspective will provide context in which regulatory decision-making is made, specifically the analysis of the severity of the condition treatment and the current state of the treatment armamentarium for a given disease.

But patient input needs to be more than anecdotal – it needs to be data-driven so that divisional decisions can be more scientifically-driven by the patient community. And nowhere is that more urgently needed than in discussions over risk/benefit calculations.

The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest ( weighs in on this issue with a new paper by senior fellow, Dr. John Bridges (of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health). His new paper, Identifying the Benefits and Risks of Emerging Treatments for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Qualitative Study (The Patient, DOI 10.1007/s-40271-014-0081-0) provides important qualitative evidence on stakeholders’ views as to important issues associated with emerging therapies for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Bridges, et al., identifies multiple issues were identified spanning the impact of emerging therapies, including the need to document the patient experience with treatment, and factors associated with disease progression.

The paper the value of qualitative research both in understanding the benefits and risks of emerging therapies and in promoting patient-centered drug development.

Patient passion is important to share. Bridges and his colleagues go one step further and provide a pathway towards capturing that passion and channeling it into usable data that can be used to impact regulatory decision-making.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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