Pharma in the News: Pharm Exec's Annual Press Audit - Pharmaceutical Executive


Pharma in the News: Pharm Exec's Annual Press Audit

Pharmaceutical Executive

What were the issues?

Table 8: Ethical Issues Related to Healthcare Reform
Table 8 shows that, for the third consecutive year, the top issues were related to healthcare reform and Medicare/Medicaid drug coverage. All 16 articles mentioned healthcare reform with three of those 16 articles also mentioning Medicare/Medicaid drug coverage. Issues previously mentioned, such as reimportation/importation and high drug prices, were not mentioned. The former, reimportation, appears a dead letter at this point, which may be due to the convergence of currency exchange rates between the United States and Canada.

Implications of healthcare reform for pharma

Many forecasts indicate that there will be a significant increase in the number of patients, about 35 million, obtaining healthcare insurance without the impediment of "no coverage" for pre-existing conditions. It is assumed that this will increase the demand for pharmaceuticals. Accordingly, pharma companies are taking decisive short-term and long-term actions to be prepared. This includes restructuring and in some cases adding sales reps to capture their fair share of incremental volume. Additionally, while prescribers may be less enthusiastic about the required preparatory steps before the PPACA is implemented in 2014, pharma companies are designing programs to help busy physician practioners, who may see their patient volume increase between 10 percent to 20 percent.

Long-term, pharma companies are positioning themselves for the shift in age demographics in the United States. According to the Media Policy Center, today there are more elderly parents needing care than the country's nine million children. Product solutions for medical problems attendant with age, such as Alzheimer's disease, are the next blockbuster for the pharma company that solves this challenge. Research that Lilly (a company that has remained under the media's radar screen) conducted with the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital has yielded the first FDA-approved diagnostic radiopharmaceutical, Anyvid (Florbetapir F18), which uses PET scanning to estimate the beta-amyloid neuritic plaque density accompanying Alzheimer's disease. This is the type of innovative approach by pharma needed to meet the challenge.

George Sillup, PhD, is Arrupe Fellow and Associate Professor at St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia, PA. He can be reached at
. Stephen Porth, PhD, is Associate Dean, Arrupe Fellow and Professor at St. Joseph's. He can be reached at
. Cynthia Slater, SJU's Business Reference Librarian, and SJU students Leo Porth, Danielle Puccini, and Ryan Fox also contributed to this research.


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