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UK patient groups say pharma needs to reduce cost of medicines Posted 19/06/2015

A report produced by patient research organization PatientView has found that UK patient groups think that the pharma industry could be doing a lot more for patients.

The survey was carried out from November 2014 to January 2015 and includes results from 73 UK-based patient groups. The opinions of the UK patient groups are also compared with those from the entire body of 1,150 patient groups (from 58 countries worldwide, and representing all therapy areas) that responded to the 2014 edition of PatientView’s annual study: ‘The Corporate Reputation of Pharma—from a Patient Perspective’.

Innovation
The results of the survey found that most (72.9%) of the UK patient groups considered pharma companies’ innovative abilities to have been ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ in 2014. Among patient groups worldwide the figure was slightly lower, at 68%.

Patient centricity
Only 18.6% of UK patient groups considered the pharma industry to be ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ at patient centricity, i.e. bearing patient needs in mind, in 2014. This figure is somewhat lower than the rest of the world, where 30% of patient groups thought pharma to be ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ at this activity in 2014.

Fair pricing
Just 14.3% of UK patient groups thought that in 2014 the pharmaceutical industry was ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ at pricing its products fairly, although this is up from a mere 7% in the 2013 survey.

Pharma reputation
Just 28% of UK patient groups estimated the multinational pharmaceutical industry’s corporate reputation as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ overall in 2014. They also placed the pharma industry in only seventh position in a league table of eight healthcare industries. This compares to 39% of patient groups worldwide seeing the industry as having an ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ corporate reputation overall in 2014, and positioning it sixth out of eight healthcare industries.

In addition, 36% of UK patient groups said that the pharmaceutical industry’s corporate reputation had worsened over the previous five years (2009–2014). Only 14% of UK patient groups said that it had improved.

How to improve
Having fair pricing policies was proposed by 19.4% of UK patient groups as the single strategy pharma should adopt to improve its corporate reputation. While another 19.4% of UK patient groups believed that being more patient-centric was the strategy pharma should adopt to improve its corporate reputation.

Editor’s comment
Calls for reductions in price may come as a surprise in the UK, which has been reported to have some of the lowest prices and highest rates of generics prescribing, compared with a wide range of developed countries, both inside and outside Europe [1]. In 2013, 84% of prescriptions in England were prescribed and 75% were dispensed as generics [2].

Biosimilars in the UK, however, make up only 30% of the volume market share of their reference product [3]. So this could possibly be an area for improvement. While recent rejections of new cancer drugs by the UK’s health watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), on the grounds that they were not cost-effective, may also be fuelling views that pharma companies are charging too much for new drugs.

Related article
Another old drug to see huge price increase in the US

References
1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. UK gets value for money for its medicines [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2015 Jun 19]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Reports/UK-gets-value-for-money-for-its-medicines
2. Health & Social Care Information Centre. Prescriptions dispensed in the Community, Statistics for England – 2003-2013 [NS]. 9 July 2014.
3. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. UK biosimilars uptake lower than in some other EU countries [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2015 Jun 19]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Reports/UK-biosimilars-uptake-lower-than-in-some-other-EU-countries

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Source: PatientView

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