SUMMARY: The biggest argument against pharma is the cost of prescription drugs. Pharma could do something about this by simply uniting to make it easier for patients who can’t afford their medications to get them free or at little cost.
OK, I will be the first to admit that pharma has problems and has not put patients first, but the reality is that the pharmaceutical industry is a business.
The most common complaint against the pharma industry is the high cost of some prescription drugs. The media usually runs a story about someone who lost their insurance and has to choose between their medications or putting food on the table.
While in most DTC spots, there is an announcement that if you can’t afford your medications, they may be able to help, the reality is that these programs are layered with bureaucratic processes that most people can’t get through.
It seems that the pharma industry could make it easy for patients who can’t afford drugs to get their drugs. The industry should unite to form an organization that would be the one place where people could get help getting the prescription drugs they need. In this age, when credit checks can be performed online in a matter of seconds, this organization could immediately identify whether a patient qualifies for free prescription drugs.
Of course, I know that there would be bumps in the road to setting up such an organization, but it CAN be done if pharma CEOs have the will to make it happen. It would, of course, be non-profit, and employees would be paid collectively by the industry. It would be measured by the number of people who are getting help with their prescription medications.
Establishing such an organization would take away a key argument against the pharma industry and focus on PBMs and insurers who are raking in billions.
The other issue that’s going to have to be addressed is the outrageous CEOs’ salaries within the industry. Yes, it’s a business, but how can we justify millions of dollars in compensation based on the balance sheet and not patients?
I work with many people who are always thinking of patients, but their work is being overshadowed by greedy CEOs and managers obsessed with sales. My blood pressure goes up when I talk to a new DTC manager whose first question is about “getting more new Rx’s.” I try and explain the current environment for online health seekers compromised with bad and false health information, but all they care about is a new business.
I talked to the President of my consulting group, who lives in the UK. He repeatedly talks about the ROI elephant at a time when so many people are looking for clear and concise health options. “We can still be a business, but that doesn’t mean that patients need to go without a medication while some CEO takes home twenty million dollars.”
Now, if pharma could unite to stop the argument about people not being able to afford their drugs, it would remove a huge monkey from their backs.