The 5 big myths of pharma, can we trust the messenger?

dont trust pharmaKEY TAKEAWAY: In this age where everyone with Internet access can be a journalist fighting the five big myths about pharma is more than “just the facts”, it’s scrutinazation and trust of the messenger.

This week, via Forbes, John Lechleiter wrote an article entitled “Debunking The Five Big Myths About ‘Big Pharma’.  While it had some valid points the facts might get clouded by consumers and journalists who mistrust big pharma and see them as another evil corporate empire. During the last month, for example, we have seen stories about the rising cost of prescription drugs and rising stock prices of companies like Biogen.  What are consumers supposed to think when they see these headlines?

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One thing I learned in continued qual research with online health consumers is that they are skeptical of prescription drug company claims and while they still may go to branded Rx websites they “trust but verify” all claims.  DTC marketers would just assume ignore this trend as they talk at instead of with online health seekers. It’s only going to get worse as the right and left get ready to do battle for President in the next year.

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It would be easy to forget the low trust consumers have of big pharma, but great DTC marketers understand that is an issue in trying to communicate brand features.  In an analysis of social media I conducted recently I have seen a sharp increase in patients both seeking support and answers around prescription drugs.  A lot of the conversations are biased against big pharma and a lot have just wrong and incorrect information, but it’s fair to say that patients are making healthcare decisions based on what they read online and pharma, to a large extent, is staying out of the conversation.

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It’s not the information we put out there, it’s what patients do with that information that counts.  Pharma needs to earn the trust of patients each and every day and until then Mr Lechleiter’s good article will just be considered industry propaganda.

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