Insulin Price Move Demonstrates the Power of Patient Centricity

Hats off to Eli Lilly for its decision to significantly lower the cost of insulin and cap out-of-pocket costs for more patients. This is a bold and meaningful leadership move — one that defines what it means to listen to consumers, put patients first and set the bar high for others in the industry.

Although this move may have short-term financial implications for Lilly, I believe the benefits to the company’s reputation will more than make up for it in the long term.

In our new 2023 Brands in Motion research, “Healthy Reputation: More Than Medicine,” WE Communications revealed that the corporate reputation of a biotech or pharmaceutical company is the No. 1 influencing factor for healthcare professionals (HCPs) when choosing between treatments that have similar profiles, such as safety, efficacy and price. More so than an HCP’s relationship with their sales rep.

Our reach also uncovered that patient centricity is the No. 1 characteristic HCPs want pharmaceutical and biotech companies to embody — more important than being innovative and progressive. Yet, disappointingly, only 45% of HCPs believe brands are actually delivering on patient centricity at a high level. Having a focus on the patient is more important than we ever thought. It has impact on the patient. It has impact on a company’s reputation. It has an impact on the way HCPs view doing business with you.

Healthcare professionals are now telling pharma and biotech brands that they must do better. Although some might say being patient-centric is considered table stakes for any healthcare brand, companies must set the bar higher, like Eli Lilly has. Companies must be honest with themselves and ask: Are we truly being innovative and progressive enough in what we are delivering? And, if so, are we communicating our efforts to HCPs in ways that enable them to highly value our patient-centric efforts and in turn highly value our company?

HCPs told us how companies can improve their focus on the patient including demonstrating understanding of the lived patient experience, improving understanding of complex health information, supporting with patient access efforts, and offering innovative patient support programs.

Across the board, HCPs want brands to prove patient centricity more than ever. This means biotech and pharmaceutical companies must evaluate which of their efforts today are promises and which are practices. They must show healthcare professionals the evidence that proves patients are always at the center of their mission. As one HCP put it, “I like to see healthcare companies practice what they preach. To me, that demonstrates a positive reputation.”

Since last week’s initial announcement, Eli Lilly is now being held up by many others as an example of a company doing the right thing, with many calling for others to follow in Lilly’s footsteps. Ultimately, the brand will benefit from being a first mover, where others will be viewed for doing it reluctantly. Lilly has certainly set the bar higher than many ever thought it could be. Now the entire industry needs to step up and reach for it.

To read the full 2023 Global Brands in Motion Health Study “Healthy Reputation: More Than Medicine” and learn more surprising findings, click here.

March 09, 2023

Stephanie Marchesi
President, Global Health and NA Eastern Region