The Untold Value of Patient Insights

By: Pritha Kuchaculla, MPH, Vice President

Despite advances in industry integration of the patient voice into everyday practice, there is still a discrepancy over the monetary value placed on patient insights.  Remunerating patients fairly for their input can have a particularly big impact in the rare disease community where patient engagement is a unique challenge. How can industry better address this challenge?

As an industry, we need to ensure patients, families and advocates are equitably compensated for providing insights at our request, comparable to what is received by healthcare professionals. This means the need to re-evaluate fair market value (FMV) guidelines to better fit different categories or tiers of consultants.  Currently, payments to healthcare professional consultants are routine and transparent based on criteria including training, publications, experience and the like.  Criteria will need to be adapted to include patients, a vital stakeholder in our changing healthcare environment, to ensure equitable reimbursements for valuable insights, regardless of company size or where it is in its stage of development.

This is especially important in rare disease communities where there is a smaller pool of patients and advocates.  A small, seemingly never changing subset of rare diseases patients and advocates are often used on heavy rotation, making their time even more valuable.  As patients are rightfully demanding care and solutions that are coordinated, convenient, customized and accessible, their perspective is critical and requested earlier and earlier in the drug development lifecycle.  Patients living with a rare disease offer a unique vantage point and provide qualitative knowledge through their own authentic and informed patient voice. This shifting healthcare landscape is creating more demand for patients to consult on everything from advising on clinical trial design all the way through feedback on educational and support resources.

Developing a new standard set of guidelines, inclusive of the role of patients, is essential as industry engages with more patients, consumers and families. Establishing FMV for consulting services from healthcare providers in an industry setting is already a complex exercise given the tightly regulated environment and potential penalties. However, pharmaceutical companies that compensate healthcare professionals for activities such as advisory boards and speakers’ bureaus, need to conduct the same level of diligence for patients participating in similar activities. This is especially important in rare disease communities where thoughtful insights are hard to come by based on the limited patient pool. If new standard guidelines are introduced to ensure equity, industry pro-activity is essential, not optional. We must come to recognize and compensate the value of patients’ insights as much as we do of healthcare providers.

To learn more about this topic or to discuss further, please contact Pritha at To read more about MK&A’s insights on trends in rare diseases, see our previous blog.




About the Author:

Pritha Kuchaculla, MPH, Vice President

Pritha has a record of success in aligning business objectives from a broad set of industry clients with patient and professional organizations in a range of therapeutic areas, including hepatology, muscular dystrophy and rare diseases.

At MK&A, her work is focused on building the firm’s rare disease portfolio, helping companies integrate the patient voice into all activities from discovery through launch. Her counsel brings value to her clients and organizations and most importantly to the patients and families they serve. An example of this is Pritha’s work in Duchenne muscular dystrophy that helped to drive the execution and submission of the first-ever patient-initiated guidance for a rare disease to the US Food and Drug Administration to accelerate development and review of potential therapies.

Pritha brings a strong background of industry, non-profit and hospital administration, having worked in the healthcare sector for over 13 years.  Most recently, she was the Associate Director of Patient Advocacy at Intercept Pharmaceuticals, a company specializing in non-viral liver diseases.  There she worked to implement advocacy strategy in preparation for the company’s first product launch in a rare disease.  Pritha’s prior experience also includes working with the American Liver Foundation as the National Director of Programs, leading the education and support services strategy for the organization.  She has held other positions at the Children’s Health Fund, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and Northwell Health.

Pritha holds a BA in communications from Rutgers University and a MPH from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).

You may contact Pritha at



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