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All things Pharma

UK-based patient groups have their say about pharma

PatientView has published ‘The Corporate Reputation of Pharma – from the Perspective of UK-Based Patient Groups, 2023’. It contains the results of a November 2023 to late-February 2024 survey, answered by 87 UK-based patient groups who supported and served 2 million UK patients during 2023/24.

The patient groups specialised in a wide range of therapy areas – the largest representation (22 respondent patient groups) being rare-disease patient groups.

The report shows that the groups perceive the pharmaceutical industry’s corporate reputation to have improved steadily during the last five years.

In the survey, 55% of respondents rated the industry’s reputation as “Excellent” or “Good” – higher that the strong increase over the Covid period (when, at a 2021 peak, 50% rated pharma’s reputation as “Excellent” or “Good”).

Despite this improvement, areas still exist in which sentiment towards the industry remains low. For example, only 2% perceived the industry to be “Excellent” or “Good” at ‘Having fair pricing policies’; only 3% at ‘Transparency of pricing’; and just 7% at ‘Being transparent with clinical data’.

The report says that several issues in 2023 may have influenced respondents’ opinions, including affordability and shortages of prescription drugs. For example, pharmacists noted supply difficulties in 2023, with Community Pharmacy England reporting that 92% of English pharmacies experienced daily shortages of some products in 2023 (an increase of 67% over the previous year) – shortages which 87% of these same pharmacies believed were putting patient heath at risk.1

A survey of 4000 English people with long-term conditions, run by patient group Parkinson’s UK, found that prescription cost had forced 1-in-10 respondents to skip medication in 2023. 12% said that they had to eke out their medicines by halving consumption.2

The report sets out suggestions on how the industry could improve, including a request for pharma companies to improve their relationships with patient groups and earlier engagement in research and development (with respondent UK patient groups critical of ‘near-to-market’ research at the expense of early-phase research – the latter being where patient groups suspect that they, and patients, can make the most difference).

The patient groups feel that by sharing their evaluation and experiences on whether the industry (and individual pharma companies) meet patient needs and expectations, will help the industry gain valuable insights into improvement.

References:

1 https://cpe.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/Medicine-Shortages-Prescriber-Briefing.pdf

2 https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/news/prescription-charges-are-barrier-keeping-people-well-and-work-survey-reveals

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Joanna Harvey
Joanna Harvey
Marketing and Communication Executive | Uniphar Commercial

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