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The Disconnect Around Public Perceptions of Drug Pricing and Tech as the Path to Post-Pandemic Recovery

by Melonie Warfel , VP and GM of Life Sciences, Model N October 28, 2020

Model N strives to keep its “finger on the pulse” of the pharma world and as a result, we regularly survey life sciences industry executives. Just today, we announced results of new research focused on the industry’s response to the global coronavirus pandemic and on issues associated with drug pricing and technology.

Some 86% of those surveyed believe there is a disconnect between pharmaceutical companies and the general public when it comes to the perception of drug pricing. Other key points include:

  • 76% cite a lack of public understanding of complexities behind how a drug is paid for and how it gets to patients
  • 46% say the disconnect in understanding is due to pricing disparities
  • 46% say the disconnect in understanding is due to government regulations

Uncertain Times Are Impacting Revenue

The pandemic has been 2020’s dominant issue, and 76% of those polled, report satisfaction with the industry’s response to COVID-19. However, revenue concerns abound, and 41% said that that government regulations, as well as pricing and rebates, are top revenue concerns. Just 9% report that COVID-19 has not impacted 2020 revenue, while 46% said the pandemic has impacted revenues by delaying new product launches.

Views around post-pandemic recovery reflected new corporate priorities, as well as the growing awareness of technological solutions. Key stats included:

  • 67% believe their companies need to invest more in technology to solve financial and revenue management challenges
  • 49% said recovering from COVID-19 is their top priority
  • 45% think eliminating system or process inefficiencies has been their biggest priority this year
  • 40% said tech will be a key enabler of COVID-19 recovery
  • 55% say current/new product launches are the top priority for the remainder of 2020

Tech Acceptance and Changing the Conversation

We also learned that executives are open to new approaches to address ongoing revenue challenges, while also answering public concerns about drug costs. Pricing remedies and ways to avoid “leaving money on the table” included:

  • Better management of government regulations (26%)
  • Improved pricing and contract compliance (25%)

Some 44% think tech assistance with value-based pricing would also be useful to their organizations.

Uncertain Times and the Path Forward

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a tumultuous year, and our data certainly confirms that – but it also validates that the industry is poised for recovery, likely to be driven by technology. What’s more, the industry is also ready for a more informative, fact-driven public dialog around drug prices. Executives also seem to understand that technological gains will drive new efficiencies that will enable healthy consumers and companies moving forward. In my view, that sets up the industry for major progress in 2021.

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