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Manufacture Business Practice, Vaccines, Trends & Forecasts

Failure to Engage

There is a growing disconnect between pharma manufacturers and consumers. An example of this is highlighted in this Upfront article: 37 percent of patients do not know who manufactures any of their medicines. Will consumers engage with or trust a company if they are unaware that it benefits them – or their friends and family – directly? Experts contributing to our January cover feature suggest that educating consumers could help, but given the public’s distrust of pharma, improving the relationship quickly may prove to be a herculean task. But if pharma doesn’t find a way to win trust, public health could suffer.

In January, President Trump met with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr – a well-known anti-vaccine activist. Kennedy claims he’s been appointed to chair a commission on vaccination safety and scientific integrity – information that has been denied by a spokesperson from the Trump transition team. That said, Trump has previously expressed concern about vaccinations and a link to autism – and met with another anti-vaccine activist (and disgraced UK doctor), Andrew Wakefield, during his presidential campaign.

What these meetings could mean for vaccination and the vaccines industry is unclear. But if we’ve reached the point where activists appear to have more clout with the President on a public health issue than the scientific community, it’s time to worry.

The pharma industry certainly tries (and has the potential) to educate patients about health issues such as vaccination, diseases awareness, and the dangers of buying medicines from unregulated websites. But it will be less successful if it is considered in any way untrustworthy; consumers may simply see marketing campaigns in disguise...

So how can the industry win back trust? One way is to get involved with local charities or the community, supporting endeavors outside the realms of medicine. Many companies are already doing this, but the work is often not well publicized, which is a shame because it shows that pharma has a genuine and open interest in promoting health and wellbeing. I recently read that Morningside Pharmaceuticals – a small company based in Loughborough, UK – donated money to help fund a minibus that will be used to reach isolated elderly people living in the area. It’s not a glitzy million-dollar donation, but there is no doubt that it will have an immediate and positive impact on the local community. And it proves that the pharma industry has a heart – perhaps the best way of changing negative perceptions.

If your company is involved in a charitable initiative that deserves a little more attention, please get in touch. We’d be happy to share pharma’s altruistic side.

Stephanie Sutton

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About the Author
Stephanie Vine

Making great scientific magazines isn’t just about delivering knowledge and high quality content; it’s also about packaging these in the right words to ensure that someone is truly inspired by a topic. My passion is ensuring that our authors’ expertise is presented as a seamless and enjoyable reading experience, whether in print, in digital or on social media. I’ve spent fourteen years writing and editing features for scientific and manufacturing publications, and in making this content engaging and accessible without sacrificing its scientific integrity. There is nothing better than a magazine with great content that feels great to read.

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