Sep 2007: Communicating Health




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Video title: Sep 2007: Communicating Health
Released on: September 01, 2007. © PharmaVentures Ltd
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In This Episode:
    In an age when technology enables communication on a huge scale, our ability to communicate the capabilities of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry to bring relief to those suffering from disease is still, in my opinion, poor.
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In an age when technology enables communication on a huge scale, our ability to communicate the capabilities of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry to bring relief to those suffering from disease is still, in my opinion, poor. The industry has a problem: costs are rising and there is a downward pressure on the price of drugs. Pharmaceutical R&D is both costly and risky, yet there are still expectations from those who pay for medicines that the price should be low – even for novel and breakthrough products. The practice of pharmacoeconomics allows us to determine the cost benefit of each drug to the health system, but does this really benefit patients or just the payers? Doctors prescribe the best medicines available, but often they do not have direct control over this, and some drugs that could benefit the patient are not making it to the pharmacy because they are not reimbursable. The industry needs to make a more concerted effort in communicating the real benefits of its drugs to patients, and stop being defensive, and the patient and patient groups need to be empowered to communicate their needs. Otherwise there is a real danger that truly novel drugs of significant benefit will no longer be developed because the risks associated with reimbursement will, basically, halt their development.

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In an age when technology enables communication on a scale never achieved before, our ability to communicate the capabilities of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry to bring relief to those suffering from disease is still, in my opinion, poor. The industry has a problem: costs are rising and there is a downward pressure on the price of drugs. Pharmaceutical research and development is both costly and risky, yet there are still expectations from those who pay for medicines that the price should be low – even for novel and breakthrough products. The practice of pharmacoeconomics allows us to determine the cost benefit of each drug to the heath system, but does this really benefit patients or just the payers? As we all know, drugs in development are more likely to fail than to succeed. In fact, we expect them to fail when they fall short on efficacy and safety. When a drug makes it to market, the patient, in most cases, is dependent on other parties to decide whether that drug is suitable or not. In effect, patients have no real control over the drugs that they are given. Yes, they are more educated because the Internet has allowed "The pharmaceutical and biotech sector needs to make a more concerted effort in communicating the real benefits of its drugs to patients, and stop being defensive. … and the patient and patient groups … need to be empowered to communicate their needs. I believe that there is a real danger that really novel drugs, which have significant benefits to patients, will no longer be developed because the risks associated with reimbursement will, basically, halt their development." people to quickly assess and evaluate the various drug therapies available worldwide, and yes, doctors do prescribe the best medicines available to their patients, but often they do not have direct control over this. The problem is that some drugs that could benefit the patient are not making it to the pharmacy because they are not reimbursable. Our sector, that is, the pharmaceutical and biotech sector, needs to make a more concerted effort in communicating the real benefits of its drugs to patients, and stop being defensive. I believe that there is a real danger that truly novel drugs, which have significant benefits to patients, will no longer be developed because the risks associated with reimbursement will, basically, halt their development. In the end, it is the patient and patient groups who need to be empowered to communicate their needs and demand that better medicines are made available – and the pharmaceutical sector should support these groups in communicating their needs and helping them to address these needs. -Fintan Walton, Chief Executive Officer, PharmaVentures Ltd.
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