Providers’ views on the relationship between price and value in building patient trust.

Ever heard of Hater?

It’s a new dating app that allows you to connect with potential matches over your shared dislikes. Hate man buns? Join the club. Not a fan of the 2016 presidential election? Swipe away. Draw the line at paying extra for guacamole on your burrito? You’re in good company.

The app was built based on the concept that people connect over the things they love to hate. The same could be said for health care providers’ opinions on biopharmaceutical companies in the United States.

In a survey conducted by APCO Insight, doctors shared that they love the lifesaving innovations biopharmaceutical companies provide, but hate when their patients can’t afford them. Specifically, the data show that 79 percent of U.S. health care providers say biopharmaceutical companies have had a positive impact on advancing the health of people in this country. However, an overwhelming majority of health care providers (80 percent) believe the cost of prescription drugs are unreasonable, and 34 percent don’t trust drug manufacturers.

So, what gives?

There is a major disconnect between doctor’s high regard for groundbreaking therapies that make a difference for their patients – and the industry’s reputation.  With patients increasingly unable to afford their prescriptions, and rogue actors that have taken staggering price increases and drawn media and government scrutiny, it’s easy to see why providers may have a negative perception of pharma.

What’s clear is that pharma needs to rebuild trust with providers. This core constituency is on the front lines of hearing from patients about their challenges with prescription affordability. If pharma companies are not responsive to that concern, doctors may continue to lose trust in the very industry that enables them to dramatically improve health.

There are multiple ways to address this stakeholder trust issue. Moving forward, pharmaceutical companies must realize that drug prices are at the forefront of discussions around the affordability of health care. And, though invoking the concept of a drug’s value is an important component of that conversation, it cannot be the only answer to how companies price their products.

Health care providers would benefit from knowing what exactly goes into a company’s consideration when they price their medicines, as well as the patient assistance programs that are available to help patients who may have trouble affording them. Educating sales forces, who in turn make appropriate mentions to doctors about ways patients can obtain assistance to purchase certain medications, would be a step in the right direction of rebuilding provider trust in pharma. This type of approach would remind physicians of pharma’s commitment to working to provide meaningful treatments to ALL patients, regardless of income status.

Now, that is something to love about the pharma industry. 

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US Health Care Price

Duval, Simone
Simone Duval

Simone Duval is an associate consult in APCO Worldwide’s Washington, D.C. health policy practice. Read More