NEW YORK: Ernst & Young has unveiled its first global pharmaceutical report, and it points sternly to the need for the industry to position itself positively - and with integrity - in a time of widespread criticism.
The report was delivered by Carolyn Buck Luce, senior partner, health sciences, at the inaugural PRWeek "Pharma's PR Diagnosis" conference in New York last Wednesday.
The presentation addressed four key issues. In reference to "corporate accountability and leadership," Luce said the challenge for PR pros is to positively position the entire industry, as well as individual companies.
She offered several suggestions for doing so, such as adhering to a core mission of improved health, educating key stakeholders on the value of prescription drugs, and managing false expectations.
"Global legislative and regulatory risk management," according to Luce, presents the challenge for the PR community of creating a balance between a pharmaceutical company's business strategy and its public-policy goals.
The issue of "access and pricing" challenges those in communications to respond to the commonly held notion that the pharmaceutical industry should guarantee the public's well-being. "People are expecting you to guarantee their health," said Luce at the conference.
"We are really swimming against the tide of criticism. For example, we're often criticized for being the most profitable industry," she added.
Finally, Luce named "expanding innovation horizons" as the fourth issue facing the industry. The challenge for communications specialists lies in positioning pharmaceutical companies as partners with other key healthcare constituencies. This, according to the presentation, creates "an environment that enables the best drugs to be discovered and delivered to the consumer."
She concluded, "More and more it is the public agenda that is going to determine your business agenda."