February 08, 2016 Articles

You're Only Human (Factored) as a Product Defender

By Jim O'Reilly

Human factors research has developed into a very intriguing intersection of culture, psychology, sociology, and other academic disciplines. At a recent national conference on pharmaceutical regulation, a major drug company official discussed with the audience how beneficial it has been for his research group to have six PhD-level scholars of human factors, overseeing the work of outside contractors who perform the field research on how their products are prescribed, consumed, and mixed with other drug and medical device products. His point is clear; marketers can understand the humans who take our products better when we assess their ways of consuming the products. How is the syringe filled by the nurse, how does he or she handle it, what are the points of exposure to needle sticks, etc.

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