Why does the media love to attack pharma?

SUMMARY: The media is all about getting stories to go viral to acquire more readers. Forget the facts, it’s about fanning the flames of a divided public by cherry-picking facts.

I’ll be the first to admit that pharma CEOs haven’t done a lot to earn the trust and respect of the public. Drug companies continue to rake in profits as CEOs work for shareholders instead of patients. What I have been trying to say, via my posts, is that our whole healthcare bureaucracy is a systematic problem.

As the NY Times recently discovered “much of what we accept as legal in medical billing would be regarded as fraud in any other sector”. The writer described her fight against bills for her husband who had a cycling accident. A visit to the ER is a roll of the dice when it comes to bills.

Then there is health insurance. The cost of private health insurance is out of control, compared to Medicare and Medicaid. Per capita spending for private insurance has grown by 52.6% over the last 10 years. Insurers have also announced that rates are going up again in 2020 negating most raises for workers.

HealthPocket released results of a pulse survey which found that 85% of U.S. adults think that healthcare costs, in general, are too high. Underscoring that point, 51% of those surveyed have avoided medical care due to lack of ability to pay.

The survey found that prices are a priority, with 91% saying that costs for medical services should be as readily available as prices on a restaurant menu. In fact, 78% have been afraid to go to the hospital because of cost, with an overwhelming majority, 96%, saying that hospitals should be upfront about the cost before treatment.

Millennial Health Issues

Millennials, who now account for the largest share of the U.S. population and labor force, are seeing their health — including both physical and behavioral health conditions — decline faster than the previous generation as they age, according to a report published by Moody’s Analytics, based on data from Blue Cross Blue Shield.

As a result, millennials, or individuals born between 1981 and 1996, will likely see more expensive health care costs in the year ahead. If the trend continues at the current rate, millennial treatment costs are still projected to be close to $4,500 annually, roughly 33 percent higher than those of Generation X at a comparable age, by 2027. That’s about $375 per month.

Politicians Focus on Pharma

Politicians continue to focus on “big pharma” and goodness knows pharma has not done much to deflect such criticism. Why pharma doesn’t band together to launch a way for to get Rx drugs to patients that can afford them is beyond me. It’s also just a matter of time before Medicare is allowed to negotiate drug prices with pharma.

Focusing on pharma is en vogue. It’s the way the media operates. Headlines lead to outrage and more readers which, in tur, leads to higher ad rates.

It’s unfair to say that there aren’t any good people in pharma who really do care about the patients they serve but companies like AbbVie and Gilead have done a lot of damage to pharma’s reputation in order to protect profits and cater to Wall Street. I’m not sure what employees think as they read about their companies missteps but we can often rationalize anything.