As a recent headline in Forbes said “even when pharma does good things they still take heat”. The reasons for this are because trust is not earned by saying something or even doing something good; it is earned over time via consistent actions that makes people take notice. In my opinion too many pharma companies have not learned that people have a way of getting to the real truth via the Internet and anyone with an Internet connection is today’s journalist. Here are 1o principles that pharma needs to live by everyday to earn back the trust of consumers and physicians.
(1) Patients have to be at the center of everything we do. If we take care of patients and treat them like people, instead of target’s, the sales will follow. (Thank you, Mr Merck).
(2) We will be more transparent when it comes to clinical trials and make available ALL data we have from clinical trials.
(3) DTC marketing will move from a sales model to a collaborative model. This means helping patients get the information they need and want even if it’s not about our product. Helping patients cut through the clutter of online health information is essential in today’s time stressed environment.
(4) Pharma CEO’s will take time to meet with the rank and file to ensure that the communication stays open between top management and people who can (or refuse) to make it happen.
(5) Anyone who puts sales ahead of patient safety shall be asked to leave the company.
(6) We will do everything in our power to ensure that those who need our products, and cannot afford them, is able to get them even if they are making more money than current guidelines. Nobody should have to drain their life savings to pay for drugs.
(7) We will focus more on patient outcomes for product benefits because patient outcomes is what it’s all about.
(8) Rather than recycle pharma people we are going to look outside the organization for people who can bring inspiration and challenge the status quo to make good things happen.
(9) We will collaborate with others to develop new drugs because it’s becoming harder to develop drugs.
(10) DTC marketing budgets are going to be reduced because we understand that the current advertising model is broken. DTC marketers have to have, as part of their responsibilities, the challenge of proving DTC marketing can still be relevant and that every dollar we spend both drives brand objectives and raises patient awareness.
Finally, if we will accept that the healthcare environment is changing an will not complain that politicians want to close the donut hole even though the drug costs are only 10% of every dollar spent. The organization has to adapt to the new realities of health care to stay viable as a business.