While we can’t say for certain what gets said during marketing meetings at every healthcare startup, we’re guessing it goes a little something like this:

“I’m not like a regular healthcare company. I’m a cool healthcare company.”

Take any Instagram ad or subway sign or marketing email from a health tech startup, and you’ll see a clear, consistent attempt from these new companies to differentiate themselves from larger legacy healthcare companies.

But these attempts go way beyond the use of consumer-friendly messaging, all the way down to the very font companies are using. Investigative reporting from Lydia Ramsey at Business Insider found that three companies – Flatiron Health, One Medical, and Oscar Health – are using nearly the same exact font. According to Flatiron’s head of brand, the “Tiempos” font is just the right mix of sophistication, warmth, humanity, trust and maturity. Who knew a font could do so much?

As for some of the very detail-oriented members of TWTW team? We haven’t been this excited since the last AP stylebook update and may use Tiempos in the near future.



We’ve written before about the relationship between climate change and health (like when the WHO named climate change the biggest threat to global health).  This year’s Earth Day reminded us of another big link between our industry and this issue. The U.S. healthcare system is the seventh-largest producer of carbon dioxide in the world. That’s not a top 10 list you want to be on. But before you book a one-way ticket to Duluth, there are ways that healthcare companies can reduce their carbon footprint and improve health. And, going green can be good for business. Some companies – like those involved with Health Care Without Harm – have saved money through their environmental efforts.  


We’re in the middle of corporate earnings, which in healthcare means you’ve probably heard the letters “R&D” quite a bit. But this is not your mother’s the same old pharma R&D landscape. Of the record 59 drugs approved last year, nearly half had orphan drug status and were studied in trials of less than 500 patients. The majority of drugs approved were specialty drugs, with oncology seeing the most new launches. While all of that marks fantastic progress for patients, it only raises the stakes for drug developers. For the first time ever, the top 15 biggest pharma companies spent >$100 billion on R&D last year, with some companies even re-organizing their entire R&D units to optimize for their priorities.


Being a millennial isn’t always as easy as Instagram posts from Coachella make it look. A new report from Blue Cross Blue Shield found that millennials are less healthy than previous generations. Eight of the top 10 health conditions studied were more prevalent in millennials than Gen Xers studied at the same age. Millennials – soon to be the largest generation in the American workforce – saw a particularly significant increase in the prevalence of depression.


The annual Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit concluded following remarks from President Trump that “Together we are going to end the scourge of drug addiction in America.” The conference was particularly timely, coming on the heels of landmark criminal charges brought against Rochester Drug Cooperative, a major drug distributor, for its alleged role in the opioid epidemic.


The relationship between pharmacos and patient advocates is often a focus for the media. This week, Bloomberg published an expose about the close connections between a nonprofit patient advocacy group (PAG), a for-profit that helped share pharma messages with patients, and the sometimes symbiotic association between drug companies and PAGs. The article highlights inaccurate financial disclosures and ways the nonprofit was used to drive profits for its pharma funders and the for-profit arm’s clients. The reporter laid bare efforts to increase medication adherence/sales, advocate against policy reforms that would lower the price of drugs, and activate patients to restrict access to biosimilars. Be careful whose back you scratch.


Dude, where's my insurance?

This week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its latest analysis of healthcare coverage in the U.S. Its findings were nothing to celebrate. In 2018, there were 28.9 million uninsured people in America, the highest uninsured rate in four years. The CBO’s report corroborates similar findings from other sources like Gallup and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

As we discussed the news with our colleagues, we found ourselves coming back to two fundamental questions: 

  • Why are people losing insurance coverage?
  • What does this mean for the biopharma companies we work with and the industry overall?

And, because there’s nothing like a good visual aid to help break down health insurance topics, we developed the below chart. We hope it helps.

Design: Madelyn Boyle/Syneos Health

Still have questions? Here’s a list of resources that might help.

If you… 

  • Want to know more about why insurers are raising premiums, read this.
  • Are confused about why nearly half of the uninsured population is ineligible for coverage under the ACA, take a look at this.
  • Don’t understand the history and status of Medicaid work requirements, read this
  • Want to know which states haven’t expanded Medicaid, look here.   


Who wrote this? The managing editors of TWTW are Dana Davis, who appreciates the AP confirming the latest style updates for Beyoncé’s name, and Randi Kahn, who still dislikes the AP rules on serial (Oxford) commas. 

Syneos Health Communications' Reputation & Risk Management Practice is a team of healthcare communications consultants, policy-shapers and crisis response specialists. We provide unique solutions to the evolving communications challenges in today’s healthcare industry, using evidence-based approaches to help our clients successfully navigate the most sensitive of situations.

Got thoughts? Contact Dana Forward ThisblankSend to Linkedinblankblank

Did someone forward this to you? You’re so lucky! Sign up to receive TWTW every week.

Feeling nostalgic? We get it. Check out old TWTW issues here.


Image credits: young man by monkik from the Noun Project, Podium by Mike Wirth from the Noun Project, questions by Gregor Cresnar from the Noun Project

And now please enjoy this disclaimer that prevents our team from getting in a heap of trouble: This report may contain links to external or third party websites. These links are provided solely for your convenience. Links taken to other sites are done so at your own risk and Syneos Health accepts no liability for any linked sites or their content. Syneos Health makes no warranties or representations, express or implied about such linked websites, the third parties they are owned and operated by, the information contained on them or the suitability or quality of any of their products or services. Syneos Health does not authorize the infringement of any intellectual property rights contained in material offered through these linked sites. Please refer to the use agreement and/or copyright statements of any external site you visit, or the terms and conditions of any externally provided web site for instructions, restrictions, and guidelines. If you have a question, please contact the webmaster of the external site.

About the Author:

Dana Davis is a strategist in the Reputation & Risk Management Practice, where she helps biopharma clients communicate the value they bring to their stakeholders. Her expertise lies in issues of corporate activism; advising companies that must respond to activist tactics from patients, employees, or investors, as well as companies looking to take a proactive stance on social issues.

Syneos Health Communications' Reputation & Risk Management Practice is a team of healthcare communications consultants, policy-shapers and crisis response specialists. We provide unique solutions to the evolving communications challenges in today’s healthcare industry, using evidence-based approaches to help our clients successfully navigate the most sensitive of situations.