In a survey performed during Mid-February to late march this year, 300 patient groups from 42 countries were asked what they thought of the medical device industry and its players. Whether the results are good or bad depend on whether you’re a glass half-full or glass half-empty kinda person.
This independent study was funded by PatientView, an independent organisation that works closely with patients and with health and social campaigning groups worldwide. The full report can be acquired from its website here, but we’ll try to cover the highlights in brief for you.
Firstly a mention of the methodology; The report is based on the results of a mid-February to late-March 2012 online survey of 300 patient groups, drawn from 42 countries across the world. Main specialties of the patient groups taking part in this study included Cancer, Carers (various conditions), Chronic diseases (in general), Circulatory diseases, Diabetes, Endocrine, Gastrointestinal conditions, General health, HIV/AIDS, Learning disorders, Mental health problems, Neurological conditions, Palliative, Rare diseases, Respiratory conditions, Rheumatological conditions, Sexual health, Skin conditions, Urinary.
So the report claims to represent patient groups’ latest impressions on the corporate reputation of the medicaal device industry and individual medical device companies. Whether you think that forms a representative group of people qualified to comment on medical devices is rather up to you. We’re not so sure, few of those conditions listed above being frequent visitors to our (medical device related) pages.
If you’re still with this, the authors claim that when it comes to feedback about specific companies all results are based on feedback from respondent patient groups that claim to be familiar with the company, and which answered the specific question for each of six above-mentioned indicators for corporate reputation.
The methodology for the study was reportedly formulated in consultation with industry and (separately) with patient groups.
The report looks at the corporate reputation of the medical device industry as a whole, and at the reputation of 18 individual multinational medical device companies—from the perspective of 300 patient groups.
Key industry-wide findings
Here’s the bit that might sting a little:
52% of the respondent patient groups believe that the multinational medical device industry has a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ corporate reputation … ie 48% don’t. The good news is that the equivalent figure for the pharmaceutical industry is only 40%.
Only 33% of the respondent patient groups think that the reputation of the medical device industry has improved during the past five years.
64% of the respondent patient groups say that the medical device industry is ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ at being innovative.
57% of the respondent patient groups say that the medical device industry is ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ at ensuring patient safety …
… even though a number of the respondent groups mention recent medical-device-related scandals.
But only 32% of the respondent patient groups say that the medical device industry is ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ at practising ethical marketing.
Just 30% of the respondent patient groups say that that the medical device industry is ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ at being transparent with external healthcare stakeholders.
Just 22% of the respondent patient groups say that that the medical device industry is ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ at adopting fair pricing practices.
Any surprises there?
Not really. Whether its the media or the consumer lobbyists nobody has said much good about the medical devices industry in recent times. From failing “all-metal” hip prostheses to “mattress foam” breast implants, from top level financial scandals to lower level kickback cases, it’s all been there in the media. It’s probably a surprise that the results are this good.