CHC News

Even Under Fire, Pharma’s Role Is Clear: Helping Patients


Mike Myers, Partner, Cross & Wild, and member of the Executive Committee of the Coalition for Healthcare Communication

Whether we face pricing pressures, political gamesmanship, waiting to see what the FDA will do under Commissioner Gottlieb, or the Affordable Care Act changing – or not –  pharma has arguably never experienced a more dynamic environment. The actions of Martin Shkreli and Mylan and the EpiPen, in tandem with the perception of onerous pricing of many recently approved therapies, have become flashpoints for national and state politicians and consumer advocates to zealously seek limits on pharmaceutical pricing and promotion.

As Mark Alles, CEO of Celgene, said in a recent article, “medical innovation saves lives and over the past decade has reduced health expenditures by more than $1.5 trillion.” Yet despite the clear benefits of medical and pharma innovation, actions are underway to limit communication between medical professionals and sponsors of those therapeutic advances.

My earliest sales training experiences at Eli Lilly and Co. focused on three principles that I continue to share with coworkers and clients:

  • Everything we do is focused on patients and their well-being;
  • Become a resource to your customers through your effort, actions and honesty; and
  • Never do anything to undermine our/your credibility.

I was proud then, as I am now, to be a part of our industry. My early lessons can serve as positive reminders of the benefits we bring, the roles we play, and the responsibilities we share in today’s healthcare environment.

(Previously published as “Coalition Speaks” in the June 9 edition of SmartBrief for Health Care Marketers)