Science is Beautiful Blog

Will Media Report how Ted Kennedy’s Life was Extended through Improved Technology to Fight Brain Cancer? Probably Not

Posted by John Kouten, CEO

Aug 26, 2009 4:47:00 PM

Ok, I am backlogged on my reading, so what else is new?  If you are a healthcare public relations professional you are, by definition, behind on your reading!  If I can scan my newspapers, multiple news aggregators, and Twitter messages each day I’m ahead of the game.


However, I did take the opportunity to review PharmaceuticalExecutive’s Fifth Annual Press Audit.  While this appeared earlier this year, its findings are very relevant today, and will be valid until they field and report the 2010 press audit results. For those involved in healthcare communications and pharmaceutical and biotechnology public relations, these data are profound.


The PharmExec audit reveals that while articles covering pharma’s marketing, sales and other promotional practices have fallen, they have been replaced with articles about drug safety issues.  During 2008, Approximately 83% of articles focusing on pharmaceuticals and biotech were about drug safety concerns.  Negative articles about drug safety issues are at a five year high.  And, while overall media coverage of pharma is down, the majority of this coverage is negative, with only a small percentage considered positive (12%).


Considering these data, along with the ever increasing regulatory and political headwinds facing the pharma industry, we believe strongly that we need to restore confidence in the industry.  As leaders in healthcare PR and pharma marketing, we are proud of the work we do each day to raise awareness of new ground-breaking medicines and medical technologies.  We are passionate that pharma technology and R&D will contribute to cost savings in this era of healthcare reform and increased rationing. 


Many of our clients serve cancer patients and their families.  And, as we have witnessed today with the loss of Senator Ted Kennedy to cancer, the victory over this global scourge is still somewhere in the future. Senator Kennedy’s death is a terrible loss. However, we know that his life was extended months longer than it would have been just ten years ago because of the great strides we have made in the fight against brain cancer.


As healthcare communications professionals, I believe it is our responsibility to support a balanced portrayal of the pharmaceutical industry, and communicate with patients, legislators, the business community and the general public about its valuable contributions to extending and enhancing human life.

Topics: Healthcare communications, healthcare public relations, issues management, US pharmaceutical market, biotechnology and medical technology companies, media relations, healthcare reform, global oncology market


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