Pharm Exec's tenth Annual Press Audit of issues in the pharmaceutical industry finds that the level of media scrutiny increased in 2013, driven primarily by a rise in coverage in two high profile outlets: The New York Times and the Washington Post. Two issues dominated the news in 2013 and neither was a surprise – drug safety, which typically signals bad news for the industry, and healthcare reform, which drilled down on implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and ongoing questions about the policy behind the legislation.
Sponsored by the Arrupe Center for Business Ethics at Saint Joseph's University, this year's audit featured the following top findings:
» Coverage of the industry was up for the third consecutive year, increasing 20 percent from last year to 136 articles in the publications surveyed, exceeding the five-year annual average of 121 articles.» Drug safety dominated the news, not only retaining its top position among issues but also receiving more than twice as much coverage as last year, and more than triple the focus of the next two hot button issues – interaction with the FDA and drug prices.
» The focus on healthcare reform skyrocketed in 2013 from 16 to 60 articles; not surprisingly, 56 of the 60 articles addressed issues related to PPACA, the number one healthcare reform issue.
» Media coverage of the industry continues to be more negative than positive or neutral; 47 % of articles were negative toward the industry in 2013, compared to 36% in 2012.
» High drug prices are back in the news, moving up the list of hot button issues to third place and reversing a trend of less media scrutiny in previous years.
» Media coverage mentioned 97 companies and/or their products this year, which is the highest number of company mentions since we began reporting in 2005.