FOCUS ON THE SOCIAL
Chairman, President and CEO
“I believe pharmaceutical companies have a social contract in
America, to make sure we continue to invest money in R&D, to
raise drug prices in a very responsible way, and make sure we can
grow our business for our shareholders. And I believe all those
things can live in harmony, and in
the vast majority of the pharmaceutical industry they actually do.”
That was my spontaneous answer
to a question about our industry, thrown at me by Jim Cramer,
when I appeared on his show Mad
Shortly afterward, on vacation
with my family, I found us engaged
in a discussion about what “social
contract” meant. I started thinking about industry’s commitment
to finding equilibrium between
the need to invest in innovation
and pricing treatments so they are
accessible and affordable. Then I
shared the idea with my colleagues
Alex Kelly, EVP Corporate Affairs
and chief communications officer;
Bill Meury, EVP and chief commercial officer; and Bob Bailey,
EVP and chief legal officer and
corporate secretary. There was
enough enthusiasm about what it
meant that the concept just snowballed.
Like most of us, I think pharma
doesn’t deserve the bad press it
gets when one or two outliers
make bad or greedy decisions. I
There is no hotter topic in healthcare than
the overall costs incurred by all involved,
especially the patients. In fact, it’s one of
the most complex, confounding, and contentious issues on the national landscape
today. And it involves healthcare companies, insurance providers, government
agencies, advocacy groups…not to mention all of us consumers. As is often noted,
healthcare currently represents about 18%
of U.S. GDP, projected by the CMS to rise
to 20% by 2025. This is significantly more
than any other industrialized country, and
needs to be brought under control.
Obviously, in sales and marketing, we cannot directly impact all the influences on healthcare costs, but we can wrestle with some of them. We do
this both as professionals and as citizens, especially out of concern for the
investment in our personal health and that of our families. We face these
issues every day because our companies suffer both the effects of rising
costs, and the negative PR that attaches itself to our industry, often unfairly.
To tackle this Gordian knot of challenges, we have reached out to a wide
variety of knowledgeable people across the industry for their wisdom.
Unlike our usual roundtable, which includes a list of questions that all
panelists are invited to answer, we set down just the major one for this
article: how can healthcare costs be reasonably handled, by all parties
involved? Each of our contributors approaches this from a unique point
of view, so we present here a wide range of solutions.
We hope this is informative and inspirational to you. It’s something we
cannot ignore, and must engage with if we are to improve our effectiveness, profitability and image.
Our thanks to this distinguished group of experts who have offered their
thoughts on a very complicated topic.