Patient advocacy, one industry observer recently noted, can be simply defined as “any activity which ultimately benefits a patient.” For Shire, the term has a broader reach, a farther-seeing vision. According to Tom Croce, who leads the Global Patient Advocacy team, patient advocacy, at its heart, “is about connecting with patient organizations.” The trust of patients must be earned, Croce says. Shire’s activities and goals must be transparent. And Shire must do all it can to understand and address the many residual unmet needs in the global patient community.
“There must be a clear value to the patient, the patient organization and to Shire – these three criteria are requisite for success.”
Tom Croce, Head of Global Patient Advocacy
Shire, which has a long history of supporting patient groups and programs, has recently committed to redesigning and strengthening its patient advocacy programs. Croce, for example, was recruited just a few months ago to build and lead the new Global Patient Advocacy team. To that effort he brings considerable experience and passion, as well as a sure idea about what success looks like, and can be.
“Anything Shire commits to in terms of patient advocacy must,” he says, ”meet these criteria: It results in a clear value to the patient, benefits the patient organization, and meets a Shire business or medical objective. All three are necessary for our programs to succeed.”
Still in the early stages of building on existing partnerships and developing new ones, Croce is conducting several streams of research to learn more about Shire’s historic impact and the impression Shire has created within the patient advocacy communities. He’s finalizing the selection and training of his team members. He’s putting foundations into place that will ensure accountability for all advocacy work
“I have a number of ideas about what Shire may and could do,” says Croce. “It’s an exciting time to be in this field. It’s a chance to make a difference.