Tough talk we all need to hear
When a silver-haired gentleman with a background in pharmacy and political science wants to talk about the state of the healthcare industry in Canada, you listen. Which is exactly what we did when Bernard Lachapelle, president of the JBL Group and renowned expert on the issues affecting the pharmaceutical industry in Canada and abroad, stepped up to the podium to speak. Sure, we’d heard it all before—most of us get a healthy dose of healthcare doom and gloom over the radio on the drive in—but this time the dialogue seemed, well, different. Different in a good way. Bolder. Refreshing. And from what I know of pharmaceutical types, refreshing is a wake-up call everyone could use from time to time.
CDR got you down? Tough! JODR giving you the runaround? Better luck next time. Drug not on formulary? Tell it to the judge, or in most cases, the review board. Like I said, not your usual rhetoric. Okay, so I’m exaggerating. But you get the idea. You see, the great thing about Bernard Lachapelle’s discussion was that he told it like it is, because often times how you say it is just as important as what you’re saying. Indeed, the impact of the Common Drug Review or Joint Oncology Drug Review on today’s pharmaceutical industry is palpable. But let’s not forget the consumers. And the many who have become risk aware. Like it or not, the needs and expectations of consumers are changing.
So why all the fuss? What’s with the healthcare hype? Or lack thereof? And what can I do—more importantly, what can “we” as the collective pharmaceutical voice do—to help? Well according to Lachapelle, adapting is key. These are new times with new pharmaceutical marketing realities. And if you’re waiting for your “a-ha” moment, try holding this revelation under your breath: physicians are no longer the only customers. Program successes and failures are now driven by public opinion—not bureaucrats. That’s a significant shift. Remember, as Lachapelle points out, that pharma represents a hundred billion dollar industry. And he’s got the charts to back that up.
Charts aside, the future of pharma remains a contradictory formula of sorts. More consumers equals more costs. But consumers want value for money. Solving the problem, it would seem, is a matter of trust. If you’re looking for a long-term commitment with your customers you’re going to have to start by building trust. Not a panacea, but the kind of trust that develops after years of hard work in an industry that’s not always quick to forgive nor easy to forget. The kind of trust Bernard Lachapelle brings to the table.
Refreshing? I’d say.