Healthcare Customer Frustrations with Big Pharma
- High drug prices that seem unsubstantiated in the context of value
- Promoting new products as innovative when they are merely chemical modifications with modest improvements at best over products already available
- Questionable and sometimes illegal marketing and sales activities that unnecessarily put patient health at risk
- Annoying television advertising with warnings that make you wonder why you would want to take the drug in the first place
- Seeking help from a patient advocacy group only to find out it is more likely a Big Pharma front to access and influence patients
- Waiting in the doctors office while the drug sales reps see the doctor
- Hiding or downplaying safety issues, adverse effects, and potentially fatal drug related-events to increase or preserve sales
- Inappropriate payments and other perks going to physicians that suggest companies are buying prescribing influence
- Promotional infiltration of continuing medical education
- Abusive and deceptive use of medical journals for scientific promotion
- Waiting for years to receive nominal compensation for harm done as companies deny responsibility and drag out legal proceedings.
- Arrogant executives dismissing or denying any wrongdoing despite evidence, legal or congressional testimony, and even their own internal communications that suggest otherwise
- C-level executives being rewarded with generous compensation packages in the face of multi-million dollar and even billion dollar fines and settlements for regulatory non-compliance and alleged illegal activities
Did I miss a thing or two? Looks like a check list for Pharma to start reassessing what they can do to improve their image with the public and the healthcare system. I think it is important to note that these are not fixable with multimillion dollar public relations campaigns or policy statements from PhRMA and no amount of life-saving products will make these go away. Why? Because these are the public’s reality based on actions and behaviors of the industry, not misperceptions.
Establishing, or in this case, reestablishing trust and credibility with your customers is critical for long-term success for any business. Without trust and credibility, many yet to be discovered best treatment options may be slower to be accepted and unfortunately, may not get to the patients who need them, when they need them.