Even after the pandemic subsides, we must remember the lessons of the COVID-19 crisis that inspired collaboration among competitors and pushed companies to find new ways of reaching patients, CSL Limited CEO Paul Perreault said recently at a conference dedicated to partnering with patients.
“We can’t forget about this,” Perreault told patient advocate Cindy Geoghegan who interviewed him in a virtual fireside chat during the Patients As Partners conference.
When restrictions shut down clinical trials, companies were forced to rethink how this critical research gets done, he said. The industry can and should do better to improve the patient experience by emphasizing digital and mobile, Perreault said. He doesn’t just mean mobile phones. Trials themselves could become mobile – going to patients instead of always requiring patients to visit trial sites for appointments.
“It’s about starting with new trials and saying ‘How can we do things differently?’ ” he said.
That sort of thinking is an extension of a value that’s already in place at CSL: patient focus.
“The game plan was always to put patients first, to mean what you say, not just have it on a poster in the office,” Perreault said.
He credited CSL’s 27,000 employees for staying focused and tackling both their regular jobs and the unexpected burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. Good communication and swift prioritization of projects were key over the last year, he said. The company had to honor its commitment to patients who rely on existing therapies while also contributing solutions to the new global crisis, including an important role as one of the world’s largest providers of influenza vaccine.
“We’re doing our best and we’re still after it while we’re also doing our day jobs,” he said.
Bringing the conversation back to patients again, Perreault said it’s important to remember what – and who – we’re talking about when we say we’re going to protect “public health.”
“It’s actually human health we’re talking about,” he said.