Pharma: Do You Know Your Patients’ Views About Healthcare?

A recent white paper by Ipsos Public Affairs outlines the different views that American patients hold about Healthcare depending on their type of condition. While healthcare reform will likely impact all 300 million Americans, the way they will be affected differs based on many characteristics.  Pharma Marketers must also factor in how diverse attitudes and concerns of American patients may reflect the specific type of condition they suffer from.

It has been well documented that American’s attitudes about key issues raised in the healthcare reform debate vary depending on their income level, their political leaning, whether or not they are insured, and whether they suffer from a serious condition or not.  However, a new study by Ipsos Public Affairs has uncovered that attitudes about healthcare and the issues and solutions differ when considering the type of condition that Americans may suffer from. 

Some key findings of the study:

Favorability towards the pharmaceutical industry is far lower among sufferers of certain types of conditions, especially mental-health, such as depression and anxiety/nervousness, than it is among sufferers of chronic conditions such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

One quarter of depression and anxiety sufferers are uninsured compared with only 10% of high cholesterol sufferers.  These results are largely representative of the demographic characteristics of sufferers from these conditions, including the proportion eligible for Medicare; 17% of high cholesterol patients and diabetes patients surveyed are over the age of 65, while just 5% of depression and anxiety/nervousness sufferers are Medicare-age eligible.

Depression and anxiety sufferers are also those most likely to deem their coverage as being insufficient to receive the appropriate care they need to treat their condition.

Implications for Pharma Marketers?

Brand Managers of mental heath conditions must understand that their patients are most prone to feel ‘less friendly’ toward the pharmaceutical industry, to be uninsured or under-insured, and to favor an employer coverage mandate.  Lack of insurance or insufficient coverage is also more common among sufferers of respiratory conditions and obesity. [figure 2 in white paper] Further, these findings suggest that these marketers may need to address issues related to the reform in light of specific concerns expressed by sufferers of the conditions they help treat.

Any thoughts or relevant experiences to add?