Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Should News Media "First, Do No Harm" When It Comes to Covering #Pharma Drugs?

Should News Media "First, Do No Harm" When It Comes to Covering #Pharma Drugs? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

[DTC in Perspective Chairman Bob Ehrlich says] the media seems to look for stories that show how dangerous prescription drugs can be. They routinely exploit consumer fears by over hyping a bad side effect or a death from a drug. “Deadly drug in your medicine cabinet” seems to be a popular story that is used as a teaser to get viewer attention and boost ratings.

The media seems to disregard the potential harm these stories do to patients who are taking these drugs and stop therapy after seeing the hyped risk story. Then there are those who will be scared to start taking them who would benefit. There was a very good story on Vox on an estimate of British consumers who stopped taking Lipitor. The London School of Hygiene studied the effect of negative media reporting on the use of Lipitor. They estimated 200,000 patients stopped taking the drug and estimated 2000 might suffer heart related events because of it. [See my "Insights" below.]


Drug companies are particular targets of negative coverage. The media seems to be very willing to savage a drug when a death is attributed to one. In the guise of exposing their supposed urgent news, they are in fact scaring people off life saving therapy. They force physicians to field calls from anxious patients asking to be taken off the drug mentioned. Sometimes the media may be right in exposing a bad drug but it happens rarely. Most of the time they over hype the negative leading to bad decisions by patients.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Ehrlich, it seems, exploits our fears by "hyping" a bad side effect of media drug stories: Here's what the Vox story actually reported: "researchers found that people using statins for primary prevention were 11 percent more likely to stop their treatment after the media coverage of ... controversial studies [published in the British Medical Journal]. People using statins for secondary prevention were 12 percent more likely to stop. This uptick appeared to be temporary, and quit rates returned back to expected levels six months later...The study, of course, can’t say whether the media coverage truly caused people to stop taking the drugs — simply that the two events appear to be linked."

 

Meanwhile, when I surveyed readers of Pharma Marketing News, "Bad Media Coverage" was lowest on the list of things that potentially causes or contributes to the drug industry's bad reputation (see chart in the post). 

 

Further reading: 

 

“What's the Cause of the Drug Industry's Bad Reputation?” (survey results); http://bit.ly/1dKI1Rc “Bad Journalism or Bad Pharma?”; http://bit.ly/GBEY4h “Sex, Lies, and the Media: Did Businessweek Distort the Relation Between ED Drugs and STDs?”; http://bit.ly/29ewdzo “Pfizer's PR Chief: ‘How in the hell do we have such a bad reputation?’"; http://bit.ly/6ImIe2

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"Good" Marketing Makes for "Good" Pharma?

"Good" Marketing Makes for "Good" Pharma? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

One doesn’t need a thermometer to take the temperature of contemporary rhetoric against the pharmaceutical industry. The white-hot title of author and physician Ben Goldacre’s 2012 book Bad Pharma: How Medicine Is Broken, and How We Can Fix It says it all.


Bristling with outrageous examples of slanted or suppressed research and corrupt marketing and sales tactics, Goldacre’s book paints a picture of a hopelessly wayward medical industry awash in dirty money.


***REVIEW OF BEN GOLDACRE'S BOOK***

Bad, Devalued, Distrusted & Defensive Pharma


It is out of that more constructive spirit that Corstjens and his co-author Edouard Demeire titled their new book Good Pharma: How Marketing Creates Value in Pharma. He warns, “If you keep emphasising problems in the industry and push for more controls, companies will be more risk-averse, which will result in less innovation.” Rather than tightening the reins, Corstjens and Demeire write, companies should intensify their marketing efforts while adhering to industry best practices. But they should do so with awareness of the fundamental changes currently underway within the industry, which are rendering the old rulebook obsolete.

Pharma Guy's insight:


Why am I Scooping this book and thereby helping to promote it? Well, I'm sure there is something of value in this book, but at a cost of $128.25 on Amazon ($161.68 USED, Huh?), this book will need help to hike up sales. In any case, the book speaks to the choir - sales and marketing people in pharma who probably are the only people who can afford to buy the book.


By the way, I hate the argument that criticism of the drug industry marketing practices "will result in less innovation." How ingenuous! Preaching to the choir only serves to perpetuate the bad practices that have hurt the industry. Constructive criticism is more valuable, IMHO.

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