Insurers, pharma increase communications about healthcare reform

NEW YORK: Pharmaceutical companies and health insurers are continuing to ramp up efforts in order to position themselves for the changes ahead in healthcare.

NEW YORK: Pharmaceutical companies and health insurers are continuing to ramp up efforts in order to position themselves for the changes ahead in healthcare.

Most companies are presenting themselves as in favor of reform - a departure from the past - but are now being much more vocal in their communications about specific topics like reimbursement. Jim Edwards, who blogs at BNET, called it a "softly-softly approach."

Here are some recent examples:

- In Indiana, Eli Lilly launched a campaign that points out the importance of drug research and how changes in drug pricing could cause job losses, according to WIBC in Indianapolis.

- David Brennan, CEO of AstraZeneca and the newly named chair of PhRMA, is participating in a series of town hall meetings in Deleware, Pennslyvania, Maryland, and Illinois discussing healthcare reform issues. Laura Woodin, manager of media relations at AstraZeneca, told PRWeek that the purpose is to show that the industry is engaged on the topic.

- Merck increased its lobbying efforts in order to limit drug price comparisons, said a Bloomberg report.

- WellPoint conducted an automated phone survey last week, asking members how much they know about the reform debate and whether they'd be interested in joining into the debate, according to The Wall Street Journal Health Blog.

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