Pharmaceutical industry, friend or foe?
September 9, 2020
Pharmaceutical Industry, Friend or Foe

Sometimes people see Inspire2Live as the driving force behind criticism on the pharmaceutical industry when it comes to the prices of especially newly developed treatments for cancer patients.

Although sometimes that happens to be the case, it most certainly isn’t our main focus.

As patients we even don’t care very much about pricing. Like our CEO Peter Kapitein often explains: ‘Healthcare is like dogfood business, in healthcare, just like in buying dog food, the consumer is not the one who determines what is on the menu, nor the one who pays. Patients are not consumers in the sense of a normal market. In a normal market, consumers decide what products they buy and they determine the price through supply and demand. Dogs have to eat what their masters buy.’

Nevertheless price can become an issue for us as patient advocates when the access to a treatment gets blocked due to excessive pricing.

The shift we see from one-size-fits-all medicine to a more personal approach not only brings better treatments and more success for the patient, but (within our current system of testing, trials and protection of intellectual property) it also brings inefficiencies that hamper access for patients to innovations in the research-treatment continuum, driving higher prices, delays in access and in some cases even no access at all for every patient to treatments they might benefit from.

We think that industry and patient advocates should work together towards a new modern system that offers access to the best possible treatments based on the best possible diagnostics against fair pricing to all patients, whilst at the same time granting the pharmaceutical industry a fair profit.

We need the industry, but at the same time the industry needs us as well.

Janneke Boersma of Roche:

“If we want to evolve to a more personalized healthcare system we need to collaborate as stakeholders. The voice of the patient is crucial in this transition and therefore the contribution of the Inspire2Live advocates is very important to ensure that a patient gets access to the best available diagnostics and drugs in his/her specific circumstances.”

Based on the mutual recognition of each other’s needs Inspire2Live is cooperating with the industry in several projects while at the same time guarding its independency from that very same industry.

So no, we are definitely not each other’s foe. We are more like hedgehogs making love (very carefully), getting closer than ever before in our common efforts to get all patients the best possible treatment. In a new system that benefits all: patients, industry and society.

Note: Inspire2live has to date, not received any funding from the pharmaceutical industry.­­­­­­

Herman Otten
Patient Advocate Inspire2Live