Follow the Patient

At the recent FDA/CMS Summit, Felix Frueh (president of Medco Research Institute) said, “I believe that we could learn so much more if we would just follow patients once they are getting exposed to these drugs.”

Now, I don’t always agree with payors — after all, they’re the guys that cut benefits to increase their bottom line, but that’s another topic of discussion — but Mr Frueh is right on. Science, doctors, pharmacists, and the pharmaceutical industry can only tell us about the science of the drug; but it’s patients who are the real test.

How? Just say you go to the vet for your dog (as I have). The vet tells you that there are two meds for your dog’s condition. The better science med causes your dog to get an upset stomach, with the result that most likely your dog will throw up all over your floor (with the medicine as well!). The second med is “not as good science”, but it is better tolerated and your dog will swallow it just fine.

Which would you take? The second, of course, as the first is useless vomited on the floor.

The same is true for people meds!  Hence, follow the patient!

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