Letter from the Editor
Why Don’t They Trust Us?
“They don’t want to cure cancer. They just want to keep patients alive and paying for their overpriced drugs!”
That was the statement that made me gulp recently when I saw it on an Internet
chat site. The “they,” of course, was our industry. I know this isn’t remotely true.
And you know it. But there are many of our fellow citizens who are increasingly
distrusting of our motives and actions. This was only one of many conversations I
have seen—and participated in—which revealed a shocking skepticism about you
and your colleagues.
Some of this comes from the unfortunate headlines about a handful of companies.
As usual, the anomalous bad actors are much more newsworthy than the vast
number of sincere, hardworking people and companies. Some of it is also a coun-
terintuitive response to the faith people want to place in healthcare practitioners. Because they think we
have come very far in our technology, skill and art, they expect more than we can deliver. The comment
above, for instance, was from a man who had lost his mother to cancer after a long battle with the ill-
ness. His optimism in the ability of doctors and drugs to cure her was demolished by her passing, and so
he blamed her death on the very people who were working so hard to save her.
But what was more disturbing is the number of people who chimed in to agree with him. They think
the industry is made up of villainous greedheads, twirling their mustaches and conniving to make even
more money from clueless patients and wealthy insurance carriers. A long string of comments exhibited
a comic-book view of the HCPs, scientists, executives, companies, institutions and government organizations concocting a grand conspiracy against the rest of us. The fact that all these healthcare workers
are humans too, with families who contract the same deadly and debilitating diseases, did not impress
I attend a number of healthcare conferences throughout the year, in addition to monitoring the press,
blogs, webinars and other sources to see what everyone’s talking about. This issue of trust has come up
with increasing frequency. It was central to a recent event hosted by eyeforpharma. The hashtag, in fact,
How can we do this, especially at a time when everyone seems to be working even harder and accomplishing even more in service to patients? Maybe we have to divert some effort not just to understanding
and providing help to patients, but to putting a human face on our own industry. We are not products,
procedures and profits. We are people, too. And we have to let the rest of the world know that.
As always, we continue to look for the value of your contributions. Let us know if you have an idea for an
article—the people we write for are the people who write for us.
Neil Greenberg, Editor
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