Earning the trust of patients

  • Edelman’s annual trust barometer research recorded an increase of 6 points in the U.S. that helped pharma reach a new rating score of 44.
  • The industry would need to reach 50 to get to neutral territory and to 60 to be considered trusted under the Edelman ratings.
  • Overall, trust in healthcare—which includes pharma, biotech and life sciences, hospitals and clinics, insurance and consumer health—increased by 8 points in the U.S. to reach 61.

Despite the media’s relentless attack on drug prices patients seem to understand that the pharma industry is responsible for saving a lot of people. However, before we pat ourselves on the back we should acknowledge that we have a lot of work to do to earn the trust of patients.

In my talks with clients I usually here questions how “how do we communicate our willingness to help?” or “how can we show we care?”. That’s not a one sentence answer. It’s contingent upon a lot of things. What are people expected to think, for example, when Pfizer hikes the price of dozens of drugs while raising the compensation of CEO Ian Read by 61 percent, putting his total compensation at $27.9 million, according to financial filings reported by Bloomberg?

What are politicians supposed to say when Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer and Abbott Laboratories—reaped a combined $7 billion in savings from two provisions in the tax bill, according to a recent Oxfam report (PDF), and they plowed that money into stock buybacks and dividends?

Of course, the irony of all this is that we need these life-saving drugs to keep us well but a new study by American Cancer Society researchers finds medical financial hardship is very common among people in the United States, with more than half reporting problems with affordability, stress, or delaying care because of cost.

If pharma wants to earn the trust of the public they need to..

1ne: Be more transparent. Communicate and collaborate with each other in drug development.

2wo: Develop a single point of contact for ALL phrarma products to help people who can’t afford prescription drugs and make it user-friendly.

3hree: Stop the development of “me-too” drugs to gran a slice of the pie.

4our: Stop the lie that says “patients are more important” when we know Wall Street is more important.

5ive: Finally PLEASE stop paying CEO’s tons of money when so many people can’t afford drugs.

I keep waiting for that one CEO to step forward and lead but then again I’m a dreamer..