Half of 70 U.S.-based patient groups surveyed said drugmakers are innovative, and 59% said drugmakers are good or excellent at creating high-quality, useful products. But 76% said drugmakers have fair or poor ethics in marketing, and only 10% said the industry is transparent. In the U.K., 70% of 80 patient groups surveyed rated drugmakers as good or excellent at making high-quality, useful products and 72% rated ethics in industry marketing as fair or poor.
What does it all mean ?
In the last two weeks I have been keeping track of negative stories about pharma and have found no less than a dozen throughout the Web. Here are some of the headlines in the media:
These are just a sample of some of the stories but as you can plainly see pharma has a lot of work to do to overcome the bad decisions that led to fines and extended media coverage. Whether the stories are full of bias are not (they are) makes no difference because today consumers don’t have the time to research whether stories like these are true they just scan them and decide that pharma is the evil empire.
While pharma has a lot of skeletons in the closet that came out into the open I cannot help but think that because of the drugs it produces my mother was able to spend 2 more years with family even though she had cancer and my dad was able to fight off an infection from his hip transplant for 4 years before he finally was overcome by it and it took his life. Then there are the millions of people who haven’t had a major CV event because of statin therapy and the people with HIV who are leading normal lives because of drugs that were developed to fight this disease.
I am the first one to point the finger when someone within the industry puts profits ahead of patients and believe that these people should be banned from working in healthcare marketing but I also know that there are a lot of hard working very good people who really believe in what they are doing. The folks at Sanofi US and Millennium Pharma are an example of what can be done with patient centered marketing and a willingness to help via social media.
Pharma has to work harder than ever to earn the trust of consumers and patients but more importantly they need to earn the trust of those in the media who just don’t get it. There are too many inaccuracies in some of these media reports but today what is often written for the Web leads to the perception. I would ask those authors to think about the drugs that could save their lives rather than just throw darts at an industry that has saved millions of lives.