The pharmaceutical industry needs to work harder to demonstrate the value that it delivers to society and to the greater economy by advancing public health outcomes, delegates at the 14th annual eyeforpharma conference in Barcelona have been told.
Addressing over a thousand industry stakeholders at Barcelona’s Centre Convencions Internacional, senior pharma leaders spoke out about the importance of communicating the private sector’s tangible contribution to greater sustainability of healthcare provision and to a new era of smarter treatment.
“We are much more part of the solution than part of the problem for increasing healthcare costs…If we fail to do that then either there is something wrong with the value that we claim or we are not articulating it properly,” declared Almirall CEO Eduardo Sanchiz. “We must be proud of what we are doing while at the same time understanding how the ‘circle of money’ drives this,” concurred Jane Griffiths, Janssen’s company group chairman for Europe, the Middle East and Africa pointing out that “a clear understanding of the business model is a precondition to true innovation and value creation” and that her entire organization is, these days, “thoroughly well versed in communicating the company’s commercial model.”
Some executives noted that the pharma industry still tends to come in for undue criticism. “Ten years ago I remember sitting in front of the delegates, and the criticism we received back then was actually about producing too many ‘me-toos’ and not enough real innovation…nowadays we’re driving an explosion of new innovation and we get blamed for the cost of the R&D,” exclaimed Lilly’s president for Europe and Canada Andrew Hotchkiss.
While company bosses appealed for greater recognition of the real value that the industry generates, there was growing acceptance that pharmaceutical manufacturers must look ‘beyond the pill’ to generating better healthcare outcomes. Sanofi Pasteur’s freshly appointed chief operating officer, David Loew, counseled that, as the industry moves away from sales force driven models to more collaborative models, it is absolutely vital that pharma assumes its seat at the ‘disease prevention’ table. “We possess the requisite knowledge so we have to contribute to the system and influence what is happening further down the line…As an industry we should be striving beyond merely serving up new tablets, vials and syringes and should start playing an active part in increasing compliance,” he asserted. For her part, Janssen’s Jane Griffiths strongly echoed these sentiments. “The strategy within Janssen is to be very outcomes led and not just a purveyor of medicines. When the WHO estimate that 50% of people don’t take their medicines properly, the industry has an obvious responsibility to work more on ensuring that patients are actually attaining the healthcare outcomes that we and they are expecting to get.”