Patient Community Advisory Boards (CABs) are consulting bodies established, operated and maintained by disease specific, clinical trial specific, or company specific groups of patient advocates and expert patients to discuss, in a neutral, unbiased and critical setting, the latest developments, challenges and issues related to health technologies that concern the given patient community. CABs are involved in scientific as well as policy related issues, and they provide expert advice to all stakeholders involved in the research, development and service provision aspects of health care.
Community Advisory Boards have been successful in bringing together all different aspects of patient involvement, and could practically and successfully integrate them into the process of biomedical research; while cooperation with other stakeholders such as industry, academia and public regulators could be launched and pursued productively.
Wienold describes community advisory boards as “quadrilateral structures” with community representatives, clinical researchers (“university”), pharmaceutical industry (“industry”) and drug regulatory authorities (“government”) participating (2002:4). CABs are thus important vehicles for joint and collaborative knowledge production.
CABs create an unbiased and professional space where all stakeholders can come together and discuss, enable and promote innovation in biomedical research and development, and also policy, especially access and pricing. CABs are also vehicles to elevate new issues to the level of scientific debate and research, which stem from the lived experience of patients.