Access to medicines is the most under-utilized opportunity for pharma to communicate with patients.
In Europe, access to medicines has, so far, been regarded a “non-issue”. Given that most treatments are reimbursed by national health coverage, patients usually did not have to worry about obtaining a drug once it had been prescribed to them. Yet, this summer, we witnessed a shift of paradigm. The European economic crisis has shaken one of the pillars of the EU healthcare system: free access to prescribed drugs.
This summer, Greek patients became hostages in a struggle opposing health authorities unable to pay their debts and pharma taking a strong stance against this by withholding delivery of some treatments to patients.
Psychologically, this had a profound impact on patients in Greece, as Kathi outlines in the video below.
The fact that pharma stopped delivering treatments, eroded patient’s trust. If pharma truly cared about its patients’, was it not in a moral obligation to communicate about what happened, why and for how long patients will have to endure this situation? What better way to utilize social media in transparent ways to inform about the motives, reassure about future availability and continuously update on delivery logistics and safety of patients?
There is a lot of talk about how trust is the foundation of any social media engagement. Maybe in this particular instance though, it is the other way around: using social media to engage on the access to your treatments might be the only way to regain trust.