PhRMA's annual meeting in Boston was full of talk about how scientific advances are pushing the boundaries of medicine's potential, but the mood was woe-is-me as members pondered their industry's poor public reputation.
The key complaint was that the industry has been waiting for praise rather than trumpeting its value.
“We need to hammer home that we support over four million jobs," said Sanofi CEO and outgoing PhRMA chair Chris Viehbacher. "We are thought of as healthcare, but we create human capital,” he said, adding that “we need to be sure wherever we go that what we stand for is better science."
Viehbacher said the industry has a place in conversations about health literacy and conveying the importance of taking meds as prescribed because it's a space where the industry can leverage its expertise regarding “better management of chronic disease, better adherence to medication."
"We have the ability to participate in that debate,” said Viehbacher. "We cannot say that's not our problem.
He said inserting the industry in these patient-centered conversations will show that it has a place in battling rising healthcare costs, for which he says the companies are unfairly blamed. They do too little messaging to counter that misperception, he added.