Matthew May

Matthew holds of Masters in Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh. He briefly worked in drug discovery and drug delivery systems development labs in Switzerland, and in biodiversity population studies in Madagascar before joining the European Patients Academy on Therapeutic Innovation (EUPATI) project as content development project manager. During the IMI-project Matthew chaired the editorial board which reviews all educational content that EUPATI produces, and worked on the EUPATI Guidance documents for patient involvement in medicines R&D. In April 2017 he became Coordinator of the post-IMI EUPATI Programme hosted by EPF and continues to work on multi-stakeholder patient engagement projects such as IMI-PARADIGM, and IMI-EFOEUPATI. 

The European Patients’ Academy (EUPATI) has trained dozens of patients to engage with companies and decision-makers on medicines development. Now it’s time to think about medtech. I am convinced that the days when experts and clinicians decided what patients want are long gone. Modern healthcare aspires to be patient-centred, while academics, policymakers and industry are increasingly focused on delivering what matters to patients. I have always believed that the best way to find out what patients want is to ask them. Inviting patients into conversations about research priorities, testing medical innovations, and even regulatory and reimbursement, is a win-win. It ensures that innovations answer the needs of patients and make product development more efficient – for example, by enhancing the recruitment and retention of patients in clinical studies. From my point of view, it’s vital that all stakeholders have the skills and knowledge required to engage in the innovation process. Patients need to understand R&D – and other stakeholders should learn how to get the most from their interactions with patients. The Patients’ Academy has played an important part in delivering training courses. Over 150 patients and 2 million users have downloaded the EUPATI Toolbox on Medicines R&D, which features more than 3,500 content items – including articles and PowerPoints, infographics and fact sheets. EUPATI was set up through the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a public-private partnership supported by the European Commission and EFPIA, representing the research-based pharmaceutical sector. We have brought together 30 organisations to fill a gap: by boosting the pool of skilled patients, the Patient Academy helps to meet the growing demand for informed patients through a combination of e-learning courses as well as face to face meetings over a period of 14 months. As you may know, there are major differences in how medical technologies and medicines...