PHARMA: Public Image continues to go downhill

You may remember the story from the Industry Veteran a few weeks back about the massive price increase in Abbot’s HIV drug, Norvir. Well the Sacramento Bee notes that things are close to going thermonuclear now.

    In a Jan. 20 letter to the company, more than 150 doctors who specialize in HIV care said they will resign from Abbott advisory panels, refuse to participate in Abbott drug trials or attend Abbott-sponsored lectures. They will ban Abbott representatives from their offices and consider alternatives to Abbott drugs when possible for their patients.

Also today there was an editorial in Eye for Pharma which suggested that the reason for pharma’s poor levels of public trust were to do with its opaque practices:

    Perhaps the industry simply hasn’t revealed enough of its inner workings to adequately earn the public’s trust. What lurks behind the manicured lawns and lights in the windows of pharma campuses is largely a mystery to most of our customers.

    There is no easy answer. But maybe it’s a matter of working hard to push the black curtain aside and help the public better understand complicated matters like R&D costs and effort and how that translates to retail drug prices. Perhaps "open houses" and public outreach events would give the communities we live and work in a glimpse of the "inside" of pharma.

 Nice try, but it’s price gouging like the Norvir incident and the blocking of imports from Canada that is really riling the public.  And this is in advance of the Democrats taking on the Medicare bill as a big give away to Pharma. MoveOn is already starting to run those ads, that clamor is sure to grow.  If I was in pharma, I’d be quickly thinking about what good things I could do to improve my image.  Enhanced DSM and drug programs for poor kids might be one place to start and publicize what was being done.

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