A recent survey conducted by Innoplexus found that only 5% of consumers viewed the pharmaceutical industry (pharma) in a positive way. Most respondents said they felt that pharma:
- Lacking transparency about payments to healthcare professionals (HCPs) that might create a conflict of interest.
- Confusion about what goes into the cost of medications
- Slow reporting of results of negative clinical trials
- Unclear Data collection practices in clinical trials.
Pharma is responsible for over 65% of medical and scientific research worldwide. The majority of which comes from the United States.
So how can pharma help improve this perception?
Some industry leaders are suggesting ways to professionalize the industry by training and certifying those pharma industry professionals that are interacting with the medical community. One such organization, the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs (ACMA) has established standards and guidance for medical affairs professionals working in pharma. They have developed the Board Certified Medical Affairs Specialist (BCMAS) program. The program is an online, self-paced program that provides training and certification to professionals to ensure they meet a minimum standard of competency. They have one for sales too, the Pharmaceutical Representative Certification (PRC).
Could this be the future of pharma? As the industry continues to face negative publicity, such as the opioid debacle, implementing strategies that call for continued professional education and certification standards seems to make sense. Doing so will help not only professionalize the industry but could indirectly improve standards in research and therefore improve patient health & outcomes.