Public affairs | Healthcare
Obtain a favourable public decision by pushing an issue on the public agenda.
Unblocking the political process to get an innovative treatment covered by the Health system.
- • Cancer medication for incurable patients whose disease is resistant to both chemotherapy and hormonal therapy;
- • No curative effects but adds several months to life expectancy;
- • Already funded by medical systems in several European countries;
- • Its medical relevance was validated by the French National Authority for Health (HAS);
- • Registration as a reimbursable drug usually occurs within 2 months of validation;
- • As a big pharmaceutical company, the client was automatically perceived as suspicious, in a context where various scandals had damaged trust.
Working behind the scenes:
- • Drafting messages to be used with public authorities, based on science and comparative data;
- • Regular meetings and talks with key public stakeholders;
- • After several months and despite promising declarations, no concrete decision was made.
Rallying to succeed
- • Organising a network of allies, involving patients associations and families, healthcare professionals, experts;
- • Developing communication tools to draw public authorities’ attention;
- • Providing patients’ spokespeople with media training sessions.
Shifting the focus
- • Promoting the voice of the patients associations instead of the pharmaceutical firm’s.
- • Shifting the debate from the treatment itself to whether France could still afford to give cancer patients a few extra months of life.
Publicising the issue
- • First step: Faced with the inertia of public authorities, a first article was published in National dayly newspaper with a wide circulation.
- • Speeding up the actions: A letter was sent by the president of the association to the French Prime Minister and oncologists to gather their support; publication of an open letter to the Minister of Health co-signed by renowned oncologists in popular monthly newspaper; briefing addressed to journalists ; publication of a dispatch on the topic by press agency APM, relayed by both general and specialised press outlets such as Le Monde, Les Echos, Le Point as well as trade media.
- • Repeated broadcast of the association president and patients’ interviews.
- • Challenged on the topic during his intervention on a national radio channel, the Minister of Health announced the drug would be reimbursed.
The decision to reimburse the drug was taken after less than two-month campaigning.Next case