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Business / Disease Awareness / Real World Evidence

Patient Stories From the Healthcare Sector — Beyond the Pills

June 21st, 2017 - 0 Comments

Healthcare companies share inspiring stories about patient access, disease control, and recovery

There is no one-treatment-fits-all method in the pharmaceutical industry. The industry has become increasingly willing to embrace individual differences in each patient. We have also learned the value of listening and sharing successful patient stories with the masses.

The pharmaceutical business has transformed from just making and pushing pills to communicating and conveying the value and safety of their products. The pharma industry now describes the patient pathway and discusses patient access.

Many companies have begun sharing stories and the journeys that patients experienced with their products. These individuals help future patients see how various products have improved their quality of life.

Embracing the power of patient stories allows companies to show how personalized medicine is the best possible way to treat patients, while creating an awareness and grabbing the public’s attention with the overall intention of better health for all.

Abbott shares success stories relating to personalized medicine

Abbott, a global healthcare company, is helping patients understand the growing importance of personalized medicines (the tailoring of medical treatment to the individual’s characteristics, needs, and preferences). Abbott is doing this by sharing patient stories on their website, and demonstrating how medicinal personalization has changed the lives of many.

The Abbott website showcases real stories about how patient lives and treatment options have been changed from non-suitable regimens to appropriate ones.

One example is that of Matt Ellefson, who was treated with XALKORI® (a drug used to treat adults with anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive advanced small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and to treat ROS1-positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer). It was prescribed after the use of Vysis ALK Break Apart FISH Probe Kit, which is an in-vitro diagnostic kit used to detect ALK gene rearrangement.

Matt has effectively controlled his cancer. He lives an active life, which includes running, cycling, and endurance sports.

Gilead helped Carol cure her hepatitis C

Harvoni, developed by Gilead, was the top-selling global brand in 2015 (according to Pharm Exec). Harvoni contains a combination of ledipasvir and sofosbuvir, antiviral medications that prevent Hepatitis C from multiplying. It treats adults and children over 12.

The Harvoni website shares the story of Carol, a patient with Hepatitis C.

“I was diagnosed with hepatitis C over 20 years ago and a few years later I found out that it was genotype 1 […] My doctor said I was a good candidate for treatment, but I wasn’t ready. I was also afraid of injections, and all the treatment at that time involved injections.”

Carol lived without treatment for a few years. She was deeply concerned about liver damage and, in time, the weight of Hepatitis C was too much of a burden. She told her doctor she was ready to be cured. Carol was approved for Harvoni and, to her delight, she discovered it was a simple one-pill-a-day regimen.

The heartwarming story ended happily for Carol: “I will never forget the day that I found out I was cured”. Though no two patients will have the exact same experience, Carol’s story will reassure cautious Hepatitis C sufferers out there.

Medtronic discusses a patient relieved of chronic pain

Medtronic PLC., a global healthcare products company and manufacturer of medical devices and supplies, shares stories of patients suffering from chronic pain. They tell the story of another Carol, who received Medtronic’s Chronic Pain Therapy.

Carol suffered from chronic pain, which caused nausea and loss of appetite. An MRI revealed that Carol had spinal canal stenosis and a herniated disc. Two months after this revelation, Carol was unable to leave her bed and was completely reliant on her husband. Eventually, Carol was told about the Medtronic pump, which would only relieve 50% of the pain. It sounded life-changing. So, she agreed to begin treatment.

The pump provided results beyond expectation. It allowed Carol to take control of her life again and freed her to enjoy a near-normal existence; something she once didn’t believe possible.

St. Jude Medical treated Adam’s chronic pain with neurostimulation

St. Jude Medical, recently acquired by Abbott, also shares patient stories on its website.

One particularly heartwarming tale is that of Adam, and how he treated his chronic pain in the trunk and limbs with neurostimulation.

Adam is a former U.S. Army officer and Golden Knights parachutist injured in the line of duty in 2006, after hitting the ground at more than 45 miles per hour. “I hit the ground so hard that my helmet and shoes flew off”.

After six long weeks in a coma, he wasn’t expected to survive, Adam spent two years undergoing surgeries and experiencing excruciating pain. In 2008, following a healthcare consultation, Adam decided to try neurostimulation. Since then, he has regained control of his life and has begun studying for a law degree.

Adam says “The neurostimulator has been amazing. The results have been incredible. It has given me my life back”.

Other companies sharing inspirational patient stories

Janssen invites patients on its brand website Prezcobix to share their experiences of Prezcobix, the drug to treat HIV. The company believes that shared stories will inspire other patients to understand the patient journey with Prezcobix.

Novartis shares the story of Toby Hadoke, a British actor and comedian, and his journey with Psoriasis, a condition more than 125 million people live with globally. Toby Hadoke helps to raise awareness of the condition, and says: “I didn’t realize it affected me as badly as it did because I got used to living with it”.

GSK also makes people aware of Asthma by sharing Alison’s story. Alison’s account highlights how the disease changes the patient’s lifestyle and how he/she feels when diagnosed with Asthma. GSK is striving hard to develop new medicines for Asthma, as patients are prone to adverse effects from the existing medicines. New treatment options are being welcomed by the authorities.

What do these stories mean for the healthcare sector?

These stories show that there is a trend away from a product or brand-centric pharmaceutical industry to a patient-centric business. Such stories from the healthcare sector raise awareness, highlight the reality of various conditions, and show patients what treatments are available.

These patient-centric approaches are definitely going to create results. Disease awareness is one of the best ways to reach patients, especially in the rural areas where people do not have disease knowledge. Real stories will surely influence patients to learn more and lead a better, healthier life.

phamax is a healthcare consulting firm, dedicated to simplifying and resolving healthcare market access complexities across the pharmaceutical industry. If you would like to know about market access and market expansion strategies, email us at

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