A clinical team within a leading pharmaceutical company wanted to design a clinical trial for a new combination therapy, which would be used to treat a rare disease with an average life expectancy of one year. Compared to the existing first-line treatment option, the combination treatment was expected to reduce the incidence of relapse and improve quality of life for patients. However, it was not expected to improve life expectancy, a key consideration for payer organizations. To gauge the economic viability of the new treatment, the company needed to understand how global payer organizations would consider quality of life in this disease area, and where the new treatment might be placed in formularies.
To move ahead with trial design, the company needed to quickly engage global payer stakeholders. However, there were a number of logistical challenges. Participants were based all over the world, making travel to a central location expensive and difficult to manage with busy and conflicting schedules. In addition, several of the participants spoke different languages, presenting another potential roadblock to efficient communication.
Another challenge was the format of the proposed meeting. The clinical team determined the best way to gather feedback would be to discuss the issues with each payer individually, then share the one-on-one discussions with the other participants, and finally engage the entire group in a thoughtful discussion about all of the initial thoughts. This sequence would be difficult to execute quickly in a live or webcast meeting.
The team decided to gather insights using the Within3 virtual engagement platform, which would allow the payers to meet over a period of several days. Participants would be able to add their thoughts and contribute to the discussion whenever it was most convenient for them, from any device, including a smartphone or tablet. The platform also included translation capabilities to overcome any language barriers during the discussion. Moderators used built-in tools to remind participants to contribute and to probe for more details when necessary.
The clinical team set up a 21-day session with 14 advisors from global payer groups and two moderators from the pharmaceutical company’s clinical team. The session included plenty of time for private discussions between moderators and each advisor, as well as ample opportunity for an inclusive discussion and follow-up with all advisors.
Each payer advisor was fully engaged in the discussion and reviewed all the materials provided during the course of the meeting. The participants were candid, detailed, and reflective about payer approaches and preferences related to treatment evaluation, recommendations for clinical trial design, and required data. The clinical team achieved its goals for the meeting:
- Gathered considerations for evaluating the new treatment from the point-of-view of insurers
- Confirmed the endpoints of the upcoming trial
- Justified the economic viability of the new treatment