Small is the New Big

  • by: |
  • 11/26/2013

It’s fast becoming an n of 1 world. A world where every disease is an orphan disease and success is measured by individual outcomes rather than large population studies such as CATIE or ALLHAT or the multitude of programs being funded by PCORI.

Small is the new Big means that we must also think differently about pharmacovigilance. While we must continue to capture adverse event data (and do a better job at that through social media channels and mobile apps), we must also strive to capture Substandard Pharmaceutical Events (SPEs). SPEs occur when a pharmaceutical product does not perform as expected – perhaps because of API or excipient issues. SPEs can arise because of an issue related to therapeutic interchangeability. When it comes to 21st century pharmacovigilance, we have to both broaden and narrow our views about bioequivalence to the patient level. Small is the new Big.

And when it comes to drug development, adaptive clinical trials and companion diagnostics further define the outsized urgency of small-scale thinking.  Demonstrating outcomes on an n of 1 level is crucial not just for 21st century healthcare technology assessment (think “value-based reimbursement”) but also for physician pay-for-performance measures and, last but not least, for the benefit of actual patients

There’s a lot of lip service paid to the comment that “the era of the blockbuster is over.” Now consider that statement from the perspective of another industry – in the 21st Century would you rather be Blockbuster or Netflix?

Small is the new Big. And that means a focus on individual patient outcomes, which means a focus on the individual patient rather than the general population and on long term care rather than short term cost.

And it’s about time.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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