According to Kantar “when thinking about the role that pharmaceutical companies play in the health of American adults. Research makes clear that pharmaceutical companies may be missing the mark when it comes to effectively communicating with consumers. Only 22% of those surveyed trust the drug companies that advertise the medications they take and only 28% believe pharma ads make them more knowledgeable.
In addition a lot of pharma companies have been turning up their noses to patients:
-PhRMA recently published an article critical of the 340B program which allows low income patients to receive critical drugs at little or no cost.
-Cancer drug prices are so expensive that even ASCO has taken issue with prices and the ability to afford treatments.
-A survey, by NCHS researchers Robin A. Cohen and Maria A. Villarroel, found that about 8% of adult Americans don’t take their medicines as prescribed because they can’t afford them. Insurance coverage often influenced this money-saving strategy. Among younger adults (those under age 65), 6% who had private insurance skipped medicines to save money, compared to 10% for those with Medicaid and 14% of those with no insurance. Among the poorest adults — those with incomes well below the federal poverty level — nearly 14% did not take medications as prescribed to save money.
-Inventor of hepatitis C cure worked as a VA doctor when he invented the drug that now sells for $1,000 per pill. It only costs $16 to make. There is still a debate as to whether the drug was developed with taxpayer resources.
Does pharma even care? Evidently not. For a lot of companies their first loyalty is to shareholders and Wall Street. In face most pharma companies are going to use the new tax breaks to buy back stock. Only a few are going to use the money for mire R&D.
Pharma’s attitude seems to be “you need us more than we need you”. However, that attitude is going to be costly. Because of our screwed up health care system more and more people are becoming active participants in their health care. Patients now have an almost unlimited choice when it comes to treatments for chronic health conditions and they are saying no to unneeded medical tests and high cost Rx treatments.
As one research VP told me “I have never seen an industry continue to make so many missteps”. We all hear the phrase “patient centric” but it’s clear that to many it’s just something they say to make themselves feel better. In an age of transparency pharma still has not learned that patients should always come first.