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11 December 2016

Pharma pricing scandals in the US influence cardiologists’ perceptions about developments to improve the lives of heart patients

Cardiologists from around the globe believe better drugs will have the biggest impact on the prognosis for people with cardiac disease over the next decade. A recent Bryter study of 1613 cardiologists across the world showed more than a third viewed developments with medications as the most important influence for improving prognosis.  The companies ranked top of the game were AstraZeneca, with 31% of the respondents rating it as the company most associated with innovative products, followed by Bayer (16%), Pfizer (15%) and Novartis (15%).

In Germany, Japan and the UK, 40% or more of cardiologists interviewed rated better drug therapy as the most important factor for improving outcomes for cardiac patients. Better drug therapy was less widely felt most important in the USA (34%) and Brazil (32%) where, although not yet a global issue, fairer pricing was of greater significance. Across the world, around 1 in 10 cardiologists cited fairer pricing as having the most potential to improve the prognosis but this is increases notably in Brazil and the USA and could well spread to other markets.

A greater awareness of patient risk factors and better government healthcare policies were also seen as being important with one in six (17%) cardiologists rating each of these as the one factor that will provide the biggest aid to improve the prognosis in cardiology patients over the next ten years. In Germany, there in ten (31%) and in Japan a quarter (23%) of cardiologists interviewed rated greater awareness of patient risk factors as the most important aid to a better prognosis.

The greatest barriers to improving the prognosis of cardiac patients over the next decade were identified as funding restrictions by health care providers with two in five (37%) cardiologists rating this as the biggest potential block and a further 21% and 20% respectively ranking inflated pricing by pharma companies and a lack of government policy/cohesion as the most important influence. In France and Japan around one in five respondents rated restrictions on clinical trials as the most important barrier.

The next decade will bring some exciting advances in the screening, detection and early treatment of cardiac disease with initiatives such as the 1000 genome project (www.1000genomes.org). Understandably, cardiologists believe innovation will be at the forefront of the fight against heart disease. It could be said that this overrides the need for different pricing models by pharma companies, however, issues around ‘inflationary’ pricing practices are certainly cutting through.

AstraZeneca is clearly benefiting from its long heritage in cardiology and is the company most associated with innovative products. Bayer, Pfizer and Novartis are also being cited with their newer agents relating to anticoagulation, heart failure and pulmonary hypertension.

For more information about the survey or Bryter please contact me on Ben.Gibbons@bryter-us.com

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