Taren Grom, Editor
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Already 2007 is shaping up to be an interesting time. A new Congress, shifting demographics, regulatory restrictions, and other factors are sure to keep industry leaders on their toes. In early December, Pfizer’s two big announcements made headlines: first, a major reduction in its salesforce, then the discontinuation of clinical trials for one of its most promising new drugs. Such events and others will define 2007. The year ahead will be a watershed for the health industries, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, as health savings accounts reach a tipping point, states act where the federal government hasn’t, and pressure on pricing amid demand for transparency force pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and health plans to rethink their strategies. These are among the top issues identified by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute’s report, The Top Seven Health Industry Trends of ‘07. (See page 8 for more information.) The report also includes findings of a nationwide survey of 1,000 Americans about their perceptions of the U.S. healthcare system. The survey identified significant differences between what the public and industry believe to be key issues, including: • Nine out of 10 Americans (90%) believe that greed is a major reason that U.S. healthcare costs are rising, a greater number than those citing drug prices, care for the uninsured, business inefficiencies, or malpractice costs. • Almost one-quarter (24%) of Americans don’t yet believe that having an electronic health record will improve the quality of healthcare, and four in 10 consumers (42%) are unsure. • Only one in six (17%) agrees that a very important way to reduce the cost of healthcare in the United States is for consumers to share more of the cost, which is the strategy behind high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts. More than half of those surveyed (51%) believe that better, more advanced medical technology and diagnostics is the answer. “Every health organization across the health industries is responding to pressure to reduce costs, meet growing demand, and do more, better and faster with less,” says David Chin, M.D., partner and leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute. “Our survey, however, found a disconnect between what the American people, policy makers, and industry think is wrong with our nation’s health system and how to fix it. It appears that consumers may not appreciate the complexity of healthcare as a business, and therefore the industry’s messages about itself and the challenges it faces are failing to resonate in the court of public opinion. This disconnect must be addressed before real progress can occur.” Now, more than ever, the industry needs strong leadership to navigate through these turbulent waters. As always, we are honored to have an extensive lineup of industry thought leaders and innovative thinkers raise their voice on such issues as the impact that state initiatives will have on sales and marketing compliance, the use of Rx-to-OTC switching as a strategy to address pricing issues and as a life-cycle management tactic, what impact managed markets will have on reimbursement and marketing strategies, and many other topics discussed in this issue. As a corporate sponsor of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, we also are pleased to showcase some of these outstanding leaders in this issue. (See page 48 for more information.) As the events of 2007 unfold, we look forward to your feedback and stand by our tagline: Read. Think. Participate. Here’s to a interesting year! Taren Grom Editor 2007 already is shaping up to be interesting: a new Congress, stricter regulatory guidelines, and shifting business practices. PharmaVOICE January 2007