The pharma year unwrapped

Posted on December, 13 - 2018

As we near the end of the year, it’s a good time to look back on just some of the highlights of our public communications and advocacy.

In recent months, we have tried to build a sense of energy and dynamism around the IPHA brand that matches the innovation and invention of the companies we represent. Across radio, print, online and social, and through events and external advocacy, we have sought to position IPHA as a contributor to human, social and economic progress.

We have created the ‘Manifesto for Better Health’, a new, radically different public policy proposition; digitised our communications through engaging patients-led campaigns like #SecondChance; landed major news, interview and opinion coverage in top-tier media; reimaged and revamped the annual conference with a focus on patients and innovation; and staked our reputation on value, not price, in deep engagement with policymakers and politicians system-wide.

Our digital campaigns, a new departure for IPHA, have performed really well.

  • #SecondChance, the compelling mini-documentary series that profiled three patients’ journeys through illness, has ‘humanised’ our industry in a powerful way. Some 445,000 people saw the videos on Facebook and 164,000 people watched them;
  • The campaign videos for the ‘Manifesto for Better Health’ were seen 337,000 times and they were watched by 184,000 people on Twitter. On Facebook, the videos were seen 191,000 times and they were watched by 34,000 people; and,
  • For ‘Stay Well This Winter’, the self-care campaign with the IPU, over 287,000 people saw the videos and 71,000 people watched them.

These figures are just for paid social engagement. Organically, we have reached many thousands more through our digital channels.

We have launched the revamped medicines.ie, with information that is accessible, accurate and timely, and we are promoting it heavily across social and online channels.

We have been busy on the mainstream media front, recording interviews with RTÉ’s Morning Ireland and Prime Time, and Newstalk’s The Hard Shoulder, as well as dramatically boosting our share of voice across all national print media titles, including the Irish Times, Irish Independent and Irish Examiner, and the medical press. 

Our public affairs work, both nationally and at European levels, has been extensive, advocating for a better innovation and reimbursement environment, as well as for special issues like the SPC waiver, a Europe-wide IP incentive that accelerates the discovery of tomorrow’s cures. At national level, our meetings with politicians, advisers and senior officials are building bridges that help to improve trust and mutual understanding. Now, journalists, politicians and policymakers all acknowledge that there is a major problem with access to medicines. It can be fixed by authentic partnership.

‘Patient Care, Powered By Innovation’, the recent IPHA annual conference, was a major step forward in communications and conferencing, creating an externally-orientated platform for lively debate and a forum for the development of new alliances. Next year, we hope to raise the bar again, with a focus on what innovation looks like in our industry and how it can be adopted efficiently into the health services.

And although the political context for Brexit is capricious, our planning has been diligent and organised, with continuity in the supply of medicines for patients our core priority.

We have parked ourselves where we can be seen and heard. As we head into next year, we hope to sustain the momentum and build a broad consensus for innovation and the deep impact of our work in every community. We have begun the effort to move hearts and minds. We look forward to continuing that work with the help of anyone with a genuine stake in improving patient care.

Have a great Christmas.

Bernard Mallee, Director of Communications and Advocacy