In the U.S., price and the cost of medicines is tied to how people feel about the pharma industry, evidenced in the Global Pharma Study 2023 from Caliber.
Caliber, a reputation and corporate strategy consultancy, fielded survey research among over 17,000 health consumers including U.S. adults between 18 and 75 years of age as well as health citizens living in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK.
Caliber assessed the reputation of 16 industries, globally, finding that pharma ranked 10th among the 16, just below automotive and just above chemicals (and well above the 16th last industry, oil and gas).
As in other studies we’ve discussed here in Health Populi, consumers’ favorite industries continued to be consumer goods (non-food), retail (food), retail (general), electronics, and food and beverage.
Diving into pharma, the top three issues consumers point to for building trust were drug safety, “health over profits,” and pricing, globally.
In the U.S., though, price trump everything for trust — including safety and innovation which ranked second in a virtual tie.
A couple of other differences between U.S. health citizens and the global profile:
- U.S. consumers were less likely to call out humanitarian access to medicines compared with the rest of the world, and
- U.S. consumers were more likely to identify fair marketing and sales practices as important for trust-building.
Trust is a precursor requirement for health engagement, so this four-matrix chart emphasizes the importance of integrity, authenticity, inspiration, and relevance for trust-building.
While innovation and leadership rank high on attributes, they are less important to global consumers than the integrity-authenticity-relevance factors.
The red quadrant, up and to the right, is the happy place where all organizations would like to be: that is, with high scores on both attributes and consumers’ importance.
Caliber asserts in the title of the chart that, “the [pharma] industry needs to shift focus to get people to advocate on its behalf.”
Health Populi’s Hot Points: Patients’ financial experience with health care is now integral to their overall consumer experience. This has been the case since patients filling prescriptions at the pharmacy at point-of-purchase began to face growing copayments and coinsurance shares for branded prescription drugs many years ago. But the sticker shock for certain branded drugs off-formulary has moved this issue to the top of U.S. voters’ minds.
Over one in three people in the U.S. point to prescription drugs as the highest spend category in U.S. health care, the graphic part of the December 2022 Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll.
But prescription drugs are personal: they are purchased locally or via mail order, have “my” name on their labels, and in terms of “my” out-of-pocket costs, prices seem more transparent and immediate (and often surprisingly higher than expected)
Timing-wise, it behooves me to include a link to President Biden’s State of the Union remarks delivered last night; in the SOTU, President Biden spoke to the issue of prescription drug prices in part discussing the patient-facing cost of insulin for diabetes:
“You know, we pay more for prescription drugs than any major country on Earth. For example, one in ten Americans has diabetes. Every day, millions need insulin to control their diabetes so they can stay alive. Insulin has been around for 100 years. It costs drug companies just $10 a vial to make. But, Big Pharma has been unfairly charging people hundreds of dollars – and making record profits. Not anymore. We capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month for seniors on Medicare. But there are millions of other Americans who are not on Medicare, including 200,000 young people with Type I diabetes who need insulin to save their lives. Let’s finish the job this time. Let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month for every American who needs it,”
and so on.
The Caliber report’s recommendations on inspiring patients and other people to advocate on their behalf — as well as find a place of “relevance” in peoples’ lives — precisely responds to the Kaiser Family Foundation poll finding.