Practices of patient engagement in drug development: a systematic scoping review

Olga Zvonareva*, Constanța Craveț, Dawn P Richards

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


BACKGROUND: During the past decade, patient engagement (PE) has attracted significant attention in the field of drug development. Readiness to accept the central importance of patients' knowledge and contributions has become evident. This study aimed to synthesize evidence on the current state of PE in drug development: what is actually being done and how.

METHODS: A systematic scoping review was conducted based on a PRISMA-informed protocol. Search was performed in PubMed, EMBASE and Web of Science, covering the period between 2011 and 2021. For analysis of extracted data, we developed a framework for analyzing PE in Drug Development. The Framework distinguishes a number of different PE types that take place at different stages of drug development and are characterized by the different degrees of power patients have in the process. It allowed us to assess depth and intensity of PE initiatives included in this review.

RESULTS: Most included PE initiatives took place at the stage of designing studies (40 in total). At this stage drug development goals are already set, but the mode of reaching them has not yet been fully determined. PE initiatives on the finetuning details stage followed (16 in total). The finetuning details stage covers the last parts of the drug development trajectory, when only relatively minor issues are still open for patients' contributions. The least numerous were PE initiatives on the stage of setting up R&D program (13 in total). This stage refers to the early steps in drug development where PE has the potential to make the most impact on shaping the subsequent process. In terms of intensity of engagement, most PE initiatives included in this review align with consultation and involvement types, 26 and 30 initiatives, respectively. Partnership was less frequent in the published accounts of PE (13 initiatives).

CONCLUSIONS: This review delineated a contemporary landscape of PE in drug development. Although attention to PE in drug development is relatively recent, a wide range of PE practices has already been initiated. The results indicate the necessity of distinguishing between different types of PE in order to understand consequences of choices regarding depth and intensity of PE.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
Number of pages14
JournalResearch Involvement and Engagement
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2022


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