Exploring the life-cycle of medicines and medical devices

Pharma human factors

The wider system through which pharmaceuticals are delivered includes all aspects of the pharmaceutical life-cycle from the laboratory bench, to trials, to manufacture, to pharmaceutical care and onwards to surveillance of real-world use and outcomes.

There have been examples of both falsified and substandard pharmaceuticals being discovered in the supply network which indicates a need to develop a systems-wide approach to understanding pharmaceutical manufacture, provision and use. Large scale changes are affecting the pharmaceutical industry, driven by changing technologies, healthcare concerns about effective medicines use and value, and the continuing struggle to introduce pharmaceuticals to address unmet needs. These changes include:

  • A shift in the nature of pharmaceuticals from easily replicable chemical entities to biological and advanced therapy products.
  • A shift towards rapid marketing approval for pharmaceuticals using real-world and clinical data.
  • Increasing opportunities for health informatics for both healthcare professionals and patients to better manage prescriptions.

Historically, the human factors community has been split by a need to expand the pool of those able to employ human factors methods and the need to ensure a proper understanding of human factors and ergonomics by non-human factors professionals.

Our aims

Uniquely, the work of this group looks both towards current practice and to the development of tomorrow’s workforce. Its membership, which includes clinicians, as well as consultants, practitioners and researchers from across the human factors and pharmaceutical communities, is engaged in a range of related projects. The group provides a means to consolidate knowledge around pharmaceutical human factors, foster new insight, and support the need for models of human factors integration and competency development across the industry from bench to patient.