November 23, 2015

Pharma needs a serious health check. It's being squeezed by economic and market-access pressure, cheaper generics, bio-similars and distrust from a legacy of reputation transgressions. Over the next three years, 400 new pharma products and indications will launch and the outlook for two thirds of those is poor, according to McKinsey. Then there is the patient – the unpredictable individual at the very end of the chain who is only 50% likely to adhere to their treatment regime. 

Patient-centricity is one way to meet these challenges head on, bringing about more sustainable differentiation, a positioning edge and potentially better adherence and outcomes. Pharma must develop treatments that better fit with patients’ lives and aspirations. But true patient-centricity is no quick fix. Becoming a patient centric business is a question of re-orientating the entire organisation to put the patient at the centre and requires a fundamental change of culture to achieve.


Patient centricity creates a powerful cause-effect that harnesses both rational and emotional drivers. It creates a more relevant and sustainable basis for brand differentiation and better experiences for patients, which in turn has the potential to change the patient mindset and thereby contribute to increased patient adherence. 

Pharma is not the first sector to experience such shifts. Nowhere is customer centricity more established and more evolved than in the highly competitive arena of consumer branding, which began its shift over 30 years ago. At The Partners Health we use invaluable insights and experience from our wider consumer branding practice to give us a unique perspective and to answer the question, what can pharma learn from consumer branding?