With today’s highly specialized nature of oncology, clinical oncology professionals are able to stay focused on their specific areas of expertise in clinical practice. As a result, conversations that cross the threshold between the challenges facing professionals in the clinic and those facing industry professionals, working to understand and address unmet medical needs through therapeutic development and innovation, can occur less frequently. However, this type of conversation can be beneficial for better understanding each other’s perspectives and advancing understanding of both, explained Michael Reff, RPh, MBA, Executive Director and Founder of NCODA, during an interview with Pharmacy Time.
To overcome this invisible barrier between oncology practice and industry, NCODA convenes the annual NCODA Institute of Oncology, which brings together leaders in the industry to talk with leaders in clinical practice to bring this type of conversation to the fore.
“As experts, we want to learn from each other to improve patient care,” said Reff in his opening remarks at the NCODA Institute of Oncology 2023. “NCODA developed this innovative offering to lead the way in cultivating relationships that will lead to positive change. We view all stakeholders in the oncology ecosystem as integral to better patient care, and by working together we can achieve this. That is the reason for this meeting.”
The NCODA Institute of Oncology chairmen who developed the program for the event included professionals working in community oncology practices, such as Kathy Oubre, MS, Chief Executive Officer of the Pontchartrain Cancer Center, and Stacey McCullough, PharmD, director of clinical and corporate partner strategy at NCODA and former deputy senior president of pharmacy for Oncology of Tennessee, along with partner heads of the Oncology Institute, such as Paul Bailey, senior director of Pfizer; Shannon Hussey, senior national director of US market access at Sobi; and Matthew Schwarz, head of marketing—Venclexta at Abbvie.
According to Bailey, most conferences in oncology tend to focus more on scientific information and the efficacy and safety of oncology therapy. However, he notes that discussions around how clinical oncology professionals find out and assess the methods their teams use to incorporate these therapies into their practice are less common at these types of conferences; however, this type of information is invaluable to the industry, as they rarely have access to learn about the types of challenges that oncology professionals face on a daily basis.
“This [event] helped clarify for me that there needs to be more conversations internally [in industry]about how some decision making occurs [in clinical practice]said Bailey in an interview with Pharmacy Time. “It will affect not only what we do as a company, but how we partner with our providers.”
According to Oubre, recognizing some commonalities and areas of opportunity for addressing challenges facing the industry and clinical oncology professionals can strengthen relationships between them to better discuss topics that are both relevant and important to both parties.
“For community oncologists and drug manufacturers, we are better off together than working in our own silos,” Oubre said in an interview with Pharmacy Time. “By having these discussions, it allows industry partners to know how we think, what our pain points are, what common places are, and what areas of opportunity might be available to partner together for the betterment of patients, which is really why we all do what we do. we do.”
Oubre noted that at this event, participants left feeling about the next step for the future.
“I think we all left with some standout ‘what’s next’, Oubre said in the interview. “In particular, we are keenly aware of the importance of addressing alternative funding programs and engaging our legislators on the Inflation Reducing Act, recognizing that not all elements are bad, but there are definitely some areas of concern, especially if we think it through. some of the unintended consequences that may have a direct impact on our patients and their health care.”
Reff M. Welcome. Minneapolis, Minnesota: NCODA Oncology Institute; August 16, 2023.
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