Now in its third year of data disclosure, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act has helped demystify financial connections between two critically linked health sector stakeholders: health care providers and pharmaceutical companies. This week, the 2015 figures will be released and, with them, increased scrutiny of the nature of interactions between physicians and pharmaceutical companies. While this partnership is critically important—consider the fact that new medicines and vaccines would be impossible without collaboration between doctors and industry—it is often met with skepticism. And I believe a deeper mistrust of the pharmaceutical sector is a root cause of this unease.
An uncomfortable irony of those of us working in the pharmaceutical companies today is that we are dedicated to helping people, and yet increasingly are unable to defend ourselves against accusations that our industry does the opposite. The toughest questions we face are not over why we are not curing cancer faster or whether one approach to treating diabetes might be more effective than another—but about trust.