Listening to Patient Perspectives
Richard Saynor In Conversation with Patient Advocacy Leaders
As a company that pioneers access for patients across the world, it is vital that we hear from the patient community we serve. The work of patient organizations is very important for our society and now more critical than ever during these unprecedented times.1
Since I took on the role of Sandoz CEO nearly two years ago, two things have become increasingly clear to me. First, our success will ultimately depend on our ability to integrate the patient perspective into everything we do; second, our understanding of that perspective is still short of where it should be.
Over the past few months, I have had a series of fascinating and insightful conversations with leading members of the global patient community. My goal was to try to find out more on a personal level about what patients worldwide really need from companies like ours – and the extent to which the devastating Covid-19 pandemic has changed things.
Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot in the process, and I would group what I have heard in three main buckets: access, education and engagement.
Access, education and engagement
Access, I heard often, is not just a problem in developing countries, and the pandemic has heightened the impact on patients worldwide. That includes rich countries such as the US, where both the total out-of-pocket cost and the sheer unpredictability of that cost can still represent a major barrier to access.
Education also remains a critical need and companies such as Sandoz have a huge role to play in sharing their scientific know-how with the patient community. That’s particularly true in relatively new areas such as biosimilars, where many healthcare professionals still lack broader understanding of key concepts.
My third takeaway was the desire of the patient community to be better heard, engaged with and included in the decision-making process. Greater collaboration was the key phrase that I heard on several occasions and from many quarters.
Acting on insights
All very well and good... but there was a fourth learning underlying all three, and probably the most important of all: that it is not enough just to listen, we need to act on our enhanced understanding, otherwise those fascinating conversations will remain just that...
It’s a learning I take to heart, and I’m glad that we’ve been already taking actions on all three fronts:
- Prioritizing unmet needs in our strategic access choices (e.g. focusing on biosimilars and investing in the sustainability of our leading antibiotics business) to improve access for patients
- Supporting biosimilar education projects of patient organizations such as ECPC and Digestive Cancers Europe to increase understanding of biologics
- Engaging with patients in our development process, to better serve patients and to conduct responsible clinical trials.
I think we have made good progress towards keeping patients front-of-mind, but there is always room for improvement. That’s why we at Sandoz will continue to identify ways in which we can put our commitment to patients and caregivers into practice by focusing on the areas where we can have the greatest impact, particularly new ways of driving access.
This will be a key priority for me personally and I’m looking to senior leaders at Sandoz to come up with concrete ideas to take our patient focus to the next level.2
Sandoz. Listening to Patient Perspectives: Richard Saynor In Conversation with Patient Advocacy Leaders [Online]. Accessed 05 Sep 2021. Available from: https://www.sandoz.com/news/listening-patient-perspectives-richard-saynor-conversation-patient-advocacy-leaders?update