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The Week That Was: Crises in Communications

The Week That Was: Crises in Communications

August 30, 2016 0 Comments

Alas, summer is nearly gone…and it feels like it barely started! Labor Day and the return to school are upon us. And while summer may be swiftly and silently fleeting, issues facing the healthcare industry this fall are LOUD and CLEAR.

Expect the affordability of medicines to continue dominating headlines. Just last week, we beheld debates being waged about the affordability of medicines used to treat severe allergies and cancer. With just 70 days until the election, drug pricing will not end with summer. Read our dose of strong medicine in The Week That Was.

OH! Lest we forget, in honor of a thoughtful tradition named for our predecessors in 1894, we’ll be honoring laborers (and our own hard-working team), by taking the three-day weekend next week. See you in two weeks.


“It’s not about you, it’s about me.” No readers, this is not a “conscientious de-coupling,” but it is the simple summation of a study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) about the price of prescription medicines. The study found that industry arguments about R&D investment as explanations for the cost of medicines are no longer viable. The authors examined historic drug pricing trends and found there’s no evidence linking R&D costs and manufacturers’ suggested drug list prices in the United States. According to the study, price is actually based on what the market will bear. To contain system costs, the authors recommend more stringent governmental requirements in granting and extending exclusivity rights, improving competition, and generating more evidence about comparative cost-effectiveness.

BUT, it is important to know the study was funded by the John and Laura Arnold Foundation. Yes, readers, that’s the same couple who actively fund the Institute of Clinical & Economic Review (ICER) and Peter Bach’s DrugAbacus value frameworks. So, it’s clear this study is coming from a group with a decided point of view that advocates for perpetuating value assessments as tools that measure the comparative clinical effectiveness of medicines and their costs and outcomes.


This study reaffirms what we’ve seen in our own proprietary testing, which is that R&D spend is no longer a sufficient answer in explaining drug pricing. However, we have seen that when companies can help patients understand how research & development impacts their health, or their family’s health, it is vastly more resonant. The industry should not expect pricing concerns to subside until we: 1) establish serious, stringent self-policing policies on pricing and 2) explain the value of our industry and medicines in terms that matter to the end users – including patients, doctors, policymakers and public health officials. If we continue to rely upon arguments that matter more to us than our stakeholders, we’ll be trying to hit our way of this sand trap for some time.

 The Issues Management Practice @inVentiv Health PR

Missed us last week? Past issues can be found on our blog by clicking here.

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