Communicating the biopharma industry's numerous innovations is met with many challenges. Medical advancements are evolving at a rapid pace, and so is public consumption of information.
For this reason, it is crucial—now more than ever—to protect patient data and communicate clearly and effectively how the biopharma industry is using their information.
For example, genetic studies that seek to understand the interrelationship of environmental influences and genetic factors in diseases are big steps forward in the advancement of medicine. It is also an opportunity to garner public support and trust in the data-sharing process.
As new generations of innovative therapies reach the market, the need to educate and communicate with consumers remains paramount. A 2020 study found that people's willingness to share their genetic data depended on several factors: Their familiarity with basic medical concepts, their knowledge about genetic data, and how much they trusted organizations to safeguard that data.
With biopharma companies developing new generations of genetically-targeted oncology drugs and novel therapies, it is a chance to involve the public in a participatory way, for example, through clinical trial participation. This both educates them and involves them in moving medical research forward.
Clinical trials remain challenging to innovation
Historically, patient participation in clinical trials has not reflected the actual prevalence or diversity of people living with cancer. In 2020, 4,922 people participated in trials that led to 18 new cancer drugs being approved.
Of those participants, 50% were women and 44% were 65 years and older. Ethnically speaking, 73% were white, 5% were Black, 14% were Asian, and 6% were Hispanic.
This lack of representation of racial and ethnic minority populations, sexual and gender minorities, and older adults—despite equal or higher cancer incidence rates compared to the general population—reduces access to potentially promising experimental medicines for people with advanced cancer or rare diseases.
According to the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), measures like liberalizing trial eligibility criteria, enabling access to more affordable treatments, and using more culturally-responsive communications to address patient perceptions and historical sensitivities are key to improving participation.
Checking basic communications assumptions at the door
Public acceptance of innovation can be helped by a few basic measures. To communicate complex information, clinical trial recruitment materials including legal documents, informed consents, and study results should be written in plain language that people can understand. These communications should also be tested in focus groups to make sure the general public understands what they are reading.
In 2017, a number of organizations involved in fast-changing medical innovation discovered that the language in their patient materials was written in a reading level that was too high for Americans' current level of health literacy.
Case in point: The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recently reviewed their patient guidelines for the most common cancers in the United States. Using literacy evaluation tools, they found that their materials were catering to an average reading grade level of 10.3—much higher than the recommended 6th-grade level. The NCCN has since revised their materials.
It is clear that patients, healthcare providers, regulators, and payers all need information they can trust on the use, benefits, costs, and safety of novel drugs and therapies. These materials will need to be customized to target a wider population of patients and delivered to multiple geographic areas. Printed materials are an integral part of enhancing and maximizing biopharma communication strategies.
More inclusive clinical trials lead to creating drugs and treatments that will benefit a larger group of people. To do that, communication strategies should meet people where they are.
Supporting biopharma communications
Christine Salamondra, National Account Manager at FedEx Office, notes that supporting clinical trials is not just about creating the actual documents involved, but also generating interest in potential participants.
As biopharma companies develop targeted messaging around a particular product or trial, "They need to work with a print supplier that has flexibility to pivot when the need arises," says Salamondra. "Companies that provide recruiting materials in region-specific dialect and in a multi-touch campaign that includes both digital and print outreach are going to be more successful recruiting desired participants."
“When a print supplier manages clinical trial print materials from start to finish it takes some of the administrative burden off the clinical trial team when the need for changes arises. If the team has a strategic advisory relationship with the print provider, they can gain efficiencies and better manage program costs related to print and shipping.”
To learn more about how FedEx Office can help your business communicate important messages through print, visit fedex.com/businesssolutions today.