Click here to read the full report

Since the fall of 2015, and against a backdrop of harsh media attention to pharmaceutical pricing, patient advocacy groups that form partnerships with pharma companies have received negative coverage in The New York TimesUSA Today and other publications. There is a familiar yet misinformed line of analysis in these articles: patient organizations support lobbying initiatives by industry partners in return for much-needed cash. Many readers lack an understanding of the quintessential services that advocacy groups provide to patients. As a result, some probably believe the accounts they read in the papers. But is money really at the heart of advocacy-industry partnerships? In early 2015, Syneos Health PR Group conducted in-depth interviews with 43 patient advocacy groups across a range of diseases to learn what they seek from their pharmaceutical partners. This year, we did follow-up interviews with many of the same organizations and some new ones—this time focusing on rare diseases. We also interviewed physicians and drug industry executives and asked a select group of payers involved in prescription and formulary decisions what they thought of advocacy-industry relationships.