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Great Advice From Great Minds: Allergan CMO On Unmet Needs And Our Contract With Patients

PHARMACEUTICALDr. Gavin Corcoran, CMO of Allergan talks with Jill Donahue, Author EngageRx

Imagine being an infectious disease specialist back when a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS was a death sentence. And imagine experiencing the transition, when these patients survived thanks to new medicines. Living this first-hand fueled the fire in Dr. Gavin Corcoran to make a difference for huge populations of patients, millions of them, not just one patient at a time. So Gavin left his practice to join pharma. And we’re glad he did! Now as Chief Medical Officer at Allergan he is making that difference.

Gavin Corcoran—Eye For Pharma Philly 2017-18—EngageRx

“Patients are waiting!” Dr. Gavin Corcoran tells his team. That’s what drives him every day.

We talked to him about:

  1. What he’s most excited about for 2018
  2. The key take-away messages he shared from his presentation on unmet patient needs
  3. How he is helping Allergan people be patient-centric
  4. How the Allergan Social Contract can change our industry

WHAT IS HE MOST EXCITED ABOUT AROUND HOW HE IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR PATIENTS?

Gavin talks about six star projects Allergan has in development to meet unmet needs. He emphasized that these projects are not approved yet but gave some insight of what’s around the corner. For example, one that is under review right now is for treatment of uterine fibroids, which will offer an alternative to surgery for women.

Another product he is excited about is one which treats depression within hours instead of the weeks required with current therapies. Imagine the difference this can make for patients with depression or those who may be suicidal.

HIS TALK AT EYEFORPHARMA PHILADELPHIA WAS MEANT TO DELIVER WHAT KEY MESSAGES?

He explains that unmet medical needs can be interpreted in so many ways. It is not simply a disease without a medication to treat it—it’s much bigger than that. It can be that the medication requires dosing that is challenging. He urges us to have a broad look at what unmet medical needs are. If patients can’t access it, or the patient can’t get to a doctor, the medication might as well not exist. Simply put, medications don’t work in patients who don’t or can’t take them.

He is pushing his team to be thoughtful and ask patients what matters to them. They have found that convenience is often the biggest unmet need and may be more important for patients than new mechanisms of action.

Bottom line, make the treatment fit in the patient’s world by having a deep understanding of their needs. What we think the goal should be may not be how the patient understands it. Instead of talking about patients, talk with patients. That’s the only way we can answer their real needs instead of the perceived needs we imagine.

HOW IS HE HELPING THE ALLERGAN COMMUNITY BE MORE PATIENT CENTRIC?

Gavin explained that they have a bold culture about patients. This goes through to their customer-facing teams who are all focused on how they can help patients. They have created a 360-degree view to educate physicians with a blended team. This creates the complete picture to best treat patients.

WE HAVE COVERED THE ALLERGAN SOCIAL CONTRACT AND ITS IMPACT IN HS&M. HOW DOES HE SEE IT?

Gavin explains that this Social Contract summarizes not just what they believe at Allergan, but also defines their promise to serve patients. Gavin assures us that every person in Allergan is committed to this contract. It starts at the top with their CEO, he says, and runs all the way through every single person in the organization.

This Social Contract has four pillars with an underlying foundation of trust. They live by it and are motivated by it. Everything they do goes back to fulfilling this promise with everyone they serve. The four pillars that they commit to are:

  1. Innovation— they will invest to find and meet unmet needs
  2. Pricing— no increase of more than 10% per year
  3. Quality and Safety— highest quality and transparent
  4. Education— thinking of every way possible to help people know everything about their products

Thank you, Allergan and thank you, Gavin for raising the bar! The expectations are much higher for patients and HCPs that they will get what they need and have transparent collaboration.

Allergan is encouraging other companies to join them by creating their own social contracts. Imagine the difference this could make in our ability as an industry to be a vibrant, important part of the healthcare ecosystem. This just may be that pivotal innovation that has the potential to make the world of difference.

Jill Donahue Principal, Excellerate Author, Engage Rx: The 3 Keys to Patient-focused Growth Co–founder, The Aurora Project

Jill, HBa, MAdEd, is a keynote speaker, author and thought leader who has authored two books on Influencing in patient-focused ways and cofounded The Aurora Project, a global patient-centricity group. She also serves as Associate Editor of Healthcare Sales & Marketing.

Jill.Donahue@excellerate.ca

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