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Danish firm aims to boost trust in pharma industry

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A new platform dubbed the ‘TrustPilot for medication’ has launched; enabling patients to share real world experiences of their medicines.

DrugsDisclosed.com is a review platform that offers patients a way to share and compare their experiences with others using the same medications. The site collates data from over 352,044 patient medication reviews from the associated DrugStars medication management app.

DrugStars is the company behind the new platform. Launched in 2017, The Danish start-up has developed an app that reminds patients to take their medication at the right time. Users are encouraged to share their experiences and opinions of their medication through the app which can be purchased by pharmaceutical companies to .

There are now around 400,000 patients using the app with 55 million unique data points around medication reviews.

DrugStars has raised a total of €3.6m in seed funding to date, with backing from Inventure (Finland), byFounders (Denmark), Digital Health Ventures (Germany) and PreSeed Ventures (Denmark).

DrugsDisclosed.com says the aim of this new platform is to give patients more control over their own treatments and address a damaging ‘trust deficit’ opening up between patients and the industry that develops and produces their medicines.

Speaking to Health Tech World, DrugsDisclosed.com founder, Claus Møldrup, said: “We wanted to give patients more control over their own treatments, which is why we created this unique service. It allows real people to share real world experiences of their medicines and get the most out of their own medication.

While many other industries gain feedback through platforms such as Trustpilot to improve their products and services, there has been no similar mechanism for medicines.

DrugsDisclosed.com says it remedies this situation by providing the pharmaceutical industry with access to these insights through its associated site, DrugsDiscovered.com.

Møldrup said: “For the pharmaceutical industry, we wanted to provide access to insights on products beyond the confines of clinical trials. We’ve designed a separate platform for them, DrugsDiscovered.com, with data recognised as secondary market insights. This means the pharmaceutical industry is allowed to listen and take action, while remaining compliant with industry regulations.”

“Currently, patient voices on their medicines are reserved for a few platforms, such as closed Facebook groups and patient forums. The big difference with DrugsDisclosed.com is that our reviews are completely anonymous and available as aggregated data.

“This is because we want to make it as easy as possible for pharmaceutical companies to use the insights in a meaningful way. We want to make medication work for everyone.”

DrugDisclosed.com donate 20% of its revenue to patient charities and associations. Through the DrugStars app, the company has raised £376,835 to patient organisations.

Møldrup said: “Our main focus is to empower as many patients as we can all over the world through shared life experiences. We are committed to donating 20% ​​of our revenue around the world and want to give even more over the course of the next year.”

New research from the company underlines the need for pharmaceutical companies to better listen and learn from patients’ experiences, with 93% of patients saying they do not trust advice from pharmaceutical companies about their medication.

The survey of over a thousand users of prescription and over the counter medicines from the UK and Ireland also showed that 84% feel the pharmaceutical industry influences prescription decisions, 81% do not feel listened to by pharmaceutical companies, and 68% expressed a desire to be able to feedback their experiences to pharma companies.

DurgsDisclosed.com says the results demonstrate that patients regard pharmaceutical companies with suspicion and often feel ignored once medicines go to market.

Møldrup said: “As today’s research shows, patients have been crying out for a forum where they can share experiences of medicines.

“Our survey findings, however, will be worrying reading for pharmaceutical companies — uncovering a significant trust deficit with patients. The problem stems from the fact that, until now, there has been no way for patients to speak out and no mechanism for the industry to listen and learn. If medication is to work effectively for everyone, this must change.”

MS Trust, Alzheimer’s Research Fund, No Panic, Alex, Cardiomyopathy UK, Epilepsy Scotland, We Are Diabetes and many other patient organisations agree. All have signed a DrugStars pledge that calls for all pharmaceutical development, approval, pricing, prioritisation, marketing and discontinuation to be informed by real world experiences of real patients.

Patient and DrugsDisclosed.com user Colin Failes, said: “I have taken part in a variety of drug trials. In those environments, pharmaceutical companies want to know everything that is happening to you. But that is where it ends.  If we can start to use our daily experiences in a useful way that can make the drugs work better for everyone, we can really help people that are already suffering.” 

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