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PhRMA’s Consumer Health Survey: Honest Answers Indicate a Long Ways to Go

By Clive Riddle, August 2, 2013

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) – just released findings from their new annual “From Hope to Cures” survey, which “explores Americans’ attitudes on personal health and medical concerns.”  What did PhRMA have to say about their new report?  President John J. Castellani, tells us "a patient-centric dialogue is crucial to improving health outcomes. The Health Survey findings will help also inform efforts to address major health challenges such as chronic disease, improved prevention and wellness activities and enhanced patient adherence to prescribed therapies.”

What do I get out of the report? The respondents were surprisingly honest (in many surveys consumers tend to rate themselves more on top of their health behaviors.) Large percentages don’t seem to be as engaged as some other studies have led us to believe.

58% say there are paying more attention to their health compared to a few years ago. This means 42% of consumers are not stepping up their game.  Here’s the depressing part – consider these percentage who said they are paying more attention to these health behaviors:

  • 57% - eating a healthy diet
  • 54% - maintaining a healthy weight
  • 48% - reducing stress
  • 41% - exercising regularly
  • 37% - taking medicine as prescribed
  • 37% - getting plenty of sleep
  • 35% - seeing doctor regularly
  • 33% - monitoring blood pressure
  • 23% - moderating alcohol

Okay – so if over 40% are NOT paying more attention to their diet or weight, and well over 50% are NOT paying more attention to the other above listed behaviors, the must be because they are in pretty good shape already, so they don’t need to pay even more attention – right?

So, when asked to describe their health for the year, these percentages responded good or great:

  • age 18-34 - 71%
  • age 35-49 - 61%
  • age 50-64 - 53%
  • age 65+    - 56%
  • overall       - 61%

So almost 30% in the prime of their life say their health isn’t good, and almost half above age 50 say the same. Wouldn’t that be cause for large numbers to be paying more attention to some of these health issues?

The survey covered a number of other topics, which were probably of bigger concern to PhRMA in tying consumer perceptions to their mission, but the above disconnect with consumer engagement is what engaged me.

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