Pharmaceutical Companies Are Not Our Enemies

Since even before I was diagnosed with lung cancer, I’ve read comments on social media about pharmaceutical companies. There’s a perception out there that pharma may hold “the cure” to a number of diseases, including cancer, but won’t share it with patients because of financial reasons. People who believe this say that pharmaceutical companies don’t want to cure cancer and other diseases because then they wouldn’t be able to continue to charge high prices for ongoing drug needs.

A different perspective

I hold a very different view of pharmaceutical companies. At a recent meeting I was invited to attend to speak about my patient journey, I was asked about my opinion of pharma and if it has changed since my diagnosis with lung cancer and my involvement in advocacy efforts. While I didn’t have strong feelings one way or other about the pharmaceutical industry prior to diagnosis, I now have a very strong positive view of this industry.

Since I was diagnosed with lung cancer, I have been fortunate to develop relationships with the pharmaceutical companies that make the medications that I have taken. I have been asked to share my patient journey at numerous meetings and have met the most kind, caring people imaginable — people whose utmost concern is understanding patient needs in order to better meet those needs. Many work in pharma because of personal connections to specific diseases and feel a sense of urgency to do something to help.

Working in partnership with patients

In the past few years, I have learned that all major pharmaceutical companies have patient advocacy departments, made up of people whose sole responsibilities are working with patients and patient advocacy groups to figure out how to best incorporate the patient voice in every step of a drug development process. Of course, some companies do this better than others, but I believe that it is truly a mission important to pharma.

Don’t get me wrong — I fully understand that pharmaceutical companies are running for-profit businesses. However, just because a business makes a profit doesn’t mean that it is the enemy. Yes, the prices for some important medications are astronomically high, but they often are the result of years of research and development costs that precede a drug into market. Again, most pharmaceutical companies have financial assistance departments that work with patients who cannot afford the cost of a medication in order to reduce the financial burden.

Debunking the myths about withholding "cures"

With instant connections everywhere through social media, I believe that it would be impossible to withhold news of “cures” from patients even if pharmaceutical companies wanted to do this. So, next time you hear a statement that pharma is hiding a cure, feel free to share this article!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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