Why we need a new crop of pharma leaders

KEY TAKEAWAY: Some pharma company CEO’s are living in a bubble and don’t understand why consumers are angry at the pharma industry.  Despite the fact that some cancer patients, for example, are living longer US consumers are sick of paying more for healthcare and prescription drugs.

Just how out of touch are pharma’s CEO’s?

1ne: [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Only nine percent of U.S. consumers believe pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies put patients over profits[/inlinetweet], while only 16 percent believe health insurance companies do, according to a Harris Poll study released today. Meanwhile, 36 percent of U.S. adults believe health care providers (such as doctors and nurses) put patients over profits, compared to hospitals (23%). Source: Harris Poll

2wo: More consumers rate health insurance (24%) and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies (20%) with low reputations, compared to hospitals (6%), health care providers (doctors and nurses) (5%) and technology (2%). Fifty-eight percent rate the reputation of the technology industry as high, compared to health care providers (43%), hospitals (37%), pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies (20%), and health insurance companies (15%).

3hree: Pfizer CEO Ian Read says. The “ethical” industry he knows is nothing like notorious ex-CEO Martin Shkreli’s work, and certainly isn’t “getting away with murder” as President-elect Donald Trump claims. He also said “we need to pay more for medicine so we can develop more good medicine, so we can drive, through competition, lower costs,”

This is the alternate reality in which some pharma CEO’s live.  They just don’t understand that consumers are angry and that the lightning rod of that anger is pointed solely at them. We are talking about CEO’s that earn a lot of money too.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Median pay for healthcare and pharma executives amounted to $14.5 million in 2015, higher than for leaders in any other sector[/inlinetweet], according to Equilar, a California firm that researches and analyzes executive compensation. Median compensation for all CEOs in the study, which looked at pay packages of 341 executives at S&P 500 companies across multiple sectors in 2015, was $10.8 million. The increase in healthcare executive pay from 2014 to 2015 was also greater than in other sectors.

Perception is reality

Yes, cancer patients are living longer, partly because of new drugs, but the argument of “we’re spending billions in R&D doesn’t hold up against drugs that can bankrupt patients while CEO’s earn tens of millions of dollars.

Not too many people are going to go online to research the cost of drugs.  All they know is, even with company health insurance, their healthcare costs are rising and they want their pound of flesh to blame.

I have said, via this site, that drug company CEO’s need to get together and develop an easy way for people who need drugs, and can’t afford the, to get them.  They need to clearly communicate that “no patient will go without our product because they can’t afford it”.  That won’t happen until they blow up the bubble they are living in.