European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation


The European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation (EUPATI), involving 30 organisations led by the European Patients’ Forum, aims to provide scientifically reliable, objective, comprehensive information to patients on the medicine research and development process.

The Public Programmes Team leads part of this work (work package 3) to deliver a needs assessment and gap analysis into the medicines Research and Development (R&D) process. Medicines R&D is the entire process of bringing a new medicine to patients – from laboratory studies to clinical studies, then regulatory approval and further evaluation during clinical use.


To explore patients and the public’s knowledge, beliefs and awareness of medicines R&D and interest in becoming involved by:

  • Surveying the general public in six different European countries,
  • Surgey of European patient advocates exploring their knowledge and interest in medicines R&D and their interest in getting actively involved in the future
  • Qualitative studies of a range of key stakeholders in medicine R&D including patient adcovates, policy makers, pharmaceutical industry, general public exploring their knowledge and interest in medicines R&D.

This case study focuses on the work done surveying the general public in six different European countries.

What we did

The research was led by the Public Programme’s research team and their colleagues in the EUPATI consortium. It involved focus groups, online surveys, systematic reviews and in-depth interviews. Work was undertaken across Europe, but particularly in Great Britain, Spain and Poland.

Initial publication explored public’s knowledge and awareness of medicines R&D. It was then tested via cognitive interviews with five individuals, to ensure questions were fully clear and easily understood.

The survey was then sent out as part of an omnibus survey across six European countries; Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland, completed by around 7000 18 – 64 year olds from different backgrounds.

As a result of this work the team collated new data, on a scale which had never been done before, around the knowledge and attitudes of patients and publics regarding therapeutic innovation.

Key findings

Once analysed the data produced new and exciting trends around the level of knowledge and interest in this area across Europe including:

  • 75% of respondents had no or less than good knowledge about medicines research
  • Those with previous experience of medical research were almost five times more likely to report having a good or very good knowledge of medicines R&D.
  • The same group also indicated they were keen to learn more about medicines safety (50%) and personalised and predictive medicine (47%).


The data generated through this study is a powerful tool for the wider EUPATI project and work into how patients and the public receive information about medicine research and development process.

Wider than this, the results are of use to anyone involved in medical research or development, as a baseline for engaging with people in across Europe and how perceptions differ between countries.