As pharmaceutical companies, spurred by the Orphan Drug Act, have delved deeper into the development of drugs to treat rare diseases, they have forged closer ties with patient advocates. While these relationships are driven by mutual interest, tensions sometimes arise because of divergent needs. We spoke to Heather Gartman, regional managing director of InVentiv Health, about the firms recent white paper “The New Partnership Paradigm.” Gartman discussed how patient advocates can more effectively influence pharmaceutical companies, some of the mistake pharmaceutical companies make, and how the growing sophistication of patient advocates is changing the balance of power in these relationships.

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