Thursday, March 19, 2009

Future Health Care Scenarios. Which is Best for Pharma?

I think everyone should listen to my podcast interview of Kim Slocum, former Director, Strategic Planning & Business Development at AstraZeneca, who suggested that the pharmaceutical industry faces at least three likely future health care scenarios in the US that will have an impact on its business and profits:

  1. "The Triumph of Reason" -- Supported by evidence-based medicine, widespread use of health information technology to support real-time comparative effectiveness review, and value-based reimbursement for innovative biopharmaceuticals.
  2. "Big Brother Arrives" -- Gov't "fixes" the health cost problem (ie, single payer system) and determines who has access to health care.
  3. "Consumer Chaos" -- Involves the acceleration of trends shifting the costs of health care and decision-making authority to consumers.
  4. Two other scenarios include:

  5. "Safety Net" -- Government run, price-controlled system that covers primary care, generic medications, basic chronic disease care and catastrophic hospitalizations. People with more money could "trade up" with their own money to better standards of care. This is much like the healthcare system we see in Australia.
  6. "PhRMA's Platform" -- A scenario endorsed by PhRMA, the US drug industry trade association (see Platform for a Healthy America). It emphasizes affordable health insurance and choice for all Americans rather than a government-run insurance plan. The plan depends upon "expanding private health insurance coverage through new refundable tax credits targeted at low-wage, small businesses and providing individual subsidies for low- and moderate income families to purchase coverage on their own or through new pooling arrangements" and upon Medicaid and SCHIP as safety nets.

In the podcast Slocum talks about several of these alternatives in more detail and argues for the biopharmaceutical industry to support the rational approach based on comparative-effectiveness review. A more comprehensive presentation of Slocum's argument, including an analysis of the impact on pharmaceutical sales and marketing, will be published in the March issue of Pharma Marketing News. Subscribe NOW and receive this issue FREE.

Meanwhile, I invite readers to take the "Which Future US Health Care Scenario is Best for Pharma?" online survey, where you can vote on which scenario is likely to unfold in the next 10 years and which one would benefit the pharmaceutical industry the most.

[You might argue that what's best for consumers is also best for pharma. That's fine. But I am specifically interested in your opinion on what's best for pharma. You should then back up your choice with why you also think it's best for patients. There's plenty of room in the survey for open-ended comments.]

Results of this survey will be summarized in Pharma Marketing News. After you complete the survey, you will be able to see the summary yourself. No comments or other identifying information is included in the summary.

Your comments are confidential (anonymous) unless you specifically provide your contact information at the end of the survey and allow us to attribute comments to you personally.

Take the survey here.

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