At a glance: Pharma PROs welcome annual statistical deluge

What’s happened? The Office of Health Economics (OHE) has unveiled its annual Compendium of Health Statistics. It is designed as a single source for everyone interested in the UK healthcare sector and the NHS.

Do we really need another stack of figures?
The OHE also carries out research on policy implications and economic issues within the pharma, healthcare and biotech industries. It looks at the financing and organisation of healthcare systems and the economics of health technology assessment.

Is it useful to PR professionals?
Yes. PROs already use OHE stats as background for stories and even for graduate trainee education. They can be useful in illustrating the importance of pharmas to UK plc and for presenting a positive picture.

To take one example, the compendium shows that cardiovascular drugs have significantly increased their share of total NHS prescriptions, rising from 21.9 per cent of total prescriptions in 1999to 27.7 per cent in 2003. And within this, the share of anti-hypertensives rose by more than half, from 3.4 per cent to 5.2 per cent in the same period.

So this is rather more than just 'background info'?
This is the hard data to reinforce hunches, figures you can perhaps use to build consensus around the suitability of a brand. It's the sort of information that PROs would find useful for assessing the targets
for brand-specific campaigns on smoking, for example.

What other data are we talking about?
From basic information on deaths from drinking and obesity to more
in-depth looks at trends. The compendium makes some comparison between the UK and other developed economies.

Anything else of interest to PROs?
The OHE also looks at issues such as where extra government investment in the NHS is going.

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