I am proud that my company, Lundbeck, was just ranked #1 in reputation among patient groups for pharmaceutical companies in both neurological and psychiatric disorders. This ranking comes from PatientView, the leading UK-based research and consulting firm that studies our industry from a patient perspective. Focusing on the person behind the disease is not only the core of our corporate character, but it is central to our business strategy, so we are humbled by this recognition from the patient communities we serve.
The brain is among the most challenging areas of medicine, and, given how individualized treatment is for people living with brain disorders, over many decades we have learned a lot about what it takes to support patients “beyond the pill”. I want to share three insights that I believe have helped us earn our strong reputation with patient groups that any company can adopt.
- Authentically engage with patients beyond the checkbook: While financial support is crucial to the patient communities that pharmaceutical companies serve, meaningful engagement also requires a personal donation of time, energy, and aptitude. For instance, for the Multiple System Atrophy community, we not only recently dedicated $100,000 to help establish a Global Multiple System Atrophy Task Force to explore treatment options for this complicated rare disease, but, equally important, we are lending the knowledge and skills of our Chief Scientific Officer, Arthur Hewitt, to assist in steering the Task Force forward. Similarly, last year we worked with the Epilepsy Foundation to create an infographic on how to help keep epilepsy patients safe. Then, rather than discussing our products during numerous calls with neurologists around the country, our account managers personally delivered the infographic to physicians so that they could in turn share this important information with their patients. This is just one example of how we put the strength of our numbers, organization and reach to work for patient groups in a way that would be difficult for them to do themselves.
- Offer financial support, and do it with a real understanding of what patient communities value and need: Patient groups are often strained for financial resources, which is why it’s not only important that we offer support generously, but in places where it can make the biggest impact. From many years of listening to patients, we have seen time and again how important it is for people to be able to connect with each other at patient group events and conventions. That’s why we introduced annual scholarships to help patients and their families attend the Huntington’s Disease Society of America Convention and the Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome Foundation Family & Professional Conference. Similarly, in mental health, we know that it takes a village to effectively support patients, which is why we partner with patient groups on the national Connect 4 Mental Health campaign to provide $10,000 “Community Innovation Awards” to expand the work of organizations in areas like emergency services, law enforcement and public housing that develop novel approaches to helping people with serious mental illness.
- In the digital age, use your platform as a leading company to bring people with similar concerns together, and to elevate a diversity of voices: While there are millions of people who suffer from brain disorders, there are few companies who make therapies available to them, which means eyes and ears are on us. One advantage of living in our era is that it offers us opportunities to use our platform not only to serve patients, but convene them and amplify their voices. For instance, working closely with their respective national advocacy organizations, we have developed two Facebook communities, one for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and one for Huntington’s disease, to give patients and caregivers an online place to connect with each other and offer advice and perspective. In this way, we are connecting patients and caregivers while also informing the broader conversation about healthcare in manners we never could on our own.
While our ranking from PatientView makes me proud of who Lundbeck is and what we do, it also serves as a reminder of the powerful role our industry can play to convene, enable and enhance the lives of patients and families suffering from challenging diseases. We take this honor seriously and know that if we remain committed, energetic, and creative, we can offer even greater support going forward.
Learn more about our commitment to patients here.