Survey: 3 Surprising Things BioPharma Can Learn about Patients’ Perceptions

A woman smiling in front of her laptop

By Jean McCoy
Reverba EVP, Partnerships

Perception is reality, as the saying goes. But sometimes, we can be too entrenched in our daily routine, entrenched in our field, and we can miss key factors that could change the way we think about what we do day to day.

We recently conducted two parallel surveys that, when compared, brought to light three ways biopharma companies are acting based on assumptions of how patients feel and what they want.

1) Public perception of the pharmaceutical industry

When we asked both pharma professionals and patients to think about the last five years and describe how public opinion of the pharmaceutical industry has changed, the pharma industry respondents had the mistaken perception that sentiment would be more negative or at a minimum the same. More than a third of the pharma group thought the response would be “I am less positive,” and that another third would say “My opinion has not changed.”

However, patient responses showed that only 19% said they felt less positive toward pharma over the last five years, and more than half, 56%, said their previous opinion, whether positive, neutral or negative,  had not changed over the last five years.

In addition, patients were asked if they feel pharmaceutical companies consider the opinions of consumers when developing new products and services. When compared with the same survey we conducted in 2017, respondents revealed a slight improvement in their impression of the pharma industry.

2) 50% gap in prioritizing programs for patients

Largest Gaps: What Pharma Offers vs What Interests PatientsWe also asked patients what type of programs they feel should be top priority for pharmaceutical companies to offer – and we asked the industry group the same question.

Comparing the top eight programs identified by each group, pharma respondents identified only half of the programs prioritized by patients.

Interestingly, the programs with highest gaps in prioritization include Live Speaking Events, Mentor Programs, Open Facebook Page, Virtual Speaker and Concierge Services.

3) Programs patients value vs. programs pharma offers

Patient Participation Can ImproveWe also asked patients what type of programs they would be interested in participating in themselves, and compared this with programs that industry respondents are actually offering. What we learned was that across every program listed, patients would participate at a higher rate than what pharma offers.

Taken together, it’s clear that if you’re in the biopharmaceutical field, instead of assuming how patients feel and what they want and need, ask them! These misaligned perceptions are likely to influence how your company plans and executes patient engagement strategies. Through market-specific insights on programs, you have the opportunity to provide exactly what your target patient community wants, with potential long-lasting impacts on their health and well-being by educating them in the ways they prefer.

For more information, reach out and we can discuss –

Survey details

Our patient survey was completed by 308 people, both women (59%) and men (39%), across a range of ages (primary focus ages 27-77) ethnicities (largest percentage white), education level and geography. They are living with a range of diseases.  Our pharma survey was completed by 127 professionals, split almost evenly between clinical and commercial functions, within the pharmaceutical (51%), medical device (31%) and biotech (14%) industry, spanning preclinical to more than five years post-launch and evenly split between small, medium and large companies. Both surveys were conducted by Health Stories Project, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reverba.