It’s a bit early for the winter blues, but Pantone has us seeing the color after picking “Classic Blue” as the official color of 2020. Blue brings to our minds four things:

  • the branding of most healthcare companies
  • the question of whether we’ll see a “blue wave” in November
  • vacationing by the ocean
  • and these songs

Pantone chose “classic blue” because it brings a sense of peace and tranquility. In a press release Pantone says it highlights “our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.”

We hope this week’s news gives you the same feeling of calm. Though, admittedly, there are a few stories that may bring anxiety instead.



 Think the US is the only country focused on having the “lowest drug prices worldwide”? Think again. China announced it’s using a national bulk purchasing system to lower the cost of drugs. This follows a pilot bidding program for sole-source supply contracts for medicines and a September announcement for pharma companies to bid to supply Chinese hospitals with 25 commonly used generics (they’d select up to 3). Leaders in Beijing say they’ll be closely monitoring drug pricing around the world. IPI anyone? 


 A recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics shared an alarming rate of prediabetes in young Americans. Nearly a quarter of young adults and a fifth of adolescents have elevated enough blood sugar levels that they’re at high risk for developing diabetes. Experts say there’s been an upward trend in prediabetes cases among this age group over the past decade, and are predicting increases in Type 2 diabetes and heart disease diagnoses. The prevalence of prediabetes was especially concerning in young males at almost twice that of females of the same age range.


 The several robocalls we receive daily are annoying, but they can also be dangerous. In a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing earlier this year, hospitals said robocalls are impeding critical staff response time, and even threatening patients and doctors directly. This week, the House expanded the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act to protect hospitals by requiring improved caller identification, making telecom carriers responsible for anti-robocall technology, and enabling legal action against robocallers. 


 Move over SERMO and Figure1, the FDA announced the global launch of CURE ID: their own app for clinicians to share their experiences with “difficult-to-treat” diseases. Treatment centers, academics, private practitioners, government facilities, and other HCPs can input infectious diseases cases they’ve treated to CURE ID, which will organize and analyze the real-world experiences to speed up treatment delivery and improve patient outcomes. Experts are also hoping the app will illuminate new uses for existing medicines. 


 Republicans in the US House of Representatives are working on their own proposal to address drug costs. The news comes as the Democratic majority prepares for a vote on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) HR3 bill next week. The House GOP bill reportedly mirrors much of what’s in the bipartisan Senate Finance Committee drug pricing bill – including a first-ever cap on out-of-pockets for Medicare beneficiaries – but the full text has not been released yet. Aids say it does not include “rock-hard, Republican-only provisions.” Stay tuned as we learn more!

Safe Share 

By Randi Kahn

We often tell clients to closely monitor their environment and get ahead of issues. As such, we wanted to share an example of a company who did just that this week.

As news broke of nineteen women filing a lawsuit against Lyft alleging the company had not done enough to address sexual assaults, Uber released a safety report with some shocking figures (e.g., 3,000+ reports of sexual assaults during rides in the US in 2018). Uber has been criticized for its safety in the past. But there are lessons in the company’s proactivity in sharing negative data and the timeliness of the safety report.

Uber acknowledged an industry-wide problem and provided concrete plans for dealing with the issue. It extended and broadened categories of assault beyond legal definitions, garnering support from major advocacy organizations. And it developed benchmarks where there were none, taking a leadership position. Additionally, the company announced partnerships with notable victim support groups and groups dedicated to awareness and prevention of sexual violence, showing further dedication to addressing the issue of sexual assault in ride shares.

Putting out a report like this was risky—and Uber did get some negative headlines—but the strategy worked. Their stock didn’t see a marked decline and overall, the news coverage, once you read past the headlines, was balanced. Leveraging good PR tactics yielded bridges built with advocacy organizations and balance and context included in the full news stories. Plus, by setting benchmarks for the industry, the company set itself up as an industry leader and led to calls for competitors to release their own safety data. This is quite a reputation change from the days leading up to #MeToo.  

“Confronting sexual violence requires honesty, and it’s only by shining a light on these issues that we can begin to provide clarity on something that touches every corner of society,” the company’s chief legal officer, Tony West, said in the executive summary of the report. “The moment is now for companies to confront it, count it, and work together to end it.”

Now that’s leadership.

Syneos Spotlight 

Drug regulators and developers are rapidly expanding the use of real-world evidence (RWE) in the evaluation of rare therapies, but a new report from Syneos Health shows that payers are lagging behind in adopting RWE and are skeptical of its value.

RRM’s fearless leader, Meg Alexander, spoke to Danny Levine on Global Genes’ RAREDaily podcast about the areas where RWE has played an important role in transforming drug development  --from showing us how medicines work outside of clinical trials, to expediting drug approvals and helping patients gain affordable access to their medications. She also details how different countries are using RWE data.

Check it out!

Who wrote this? The managing editor of TWTW is Randi Kahn, who is excited to pick out her first Christmas tree this weekend. Happy almost holidays, everyone! 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.

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Image credits: dollar sign by Jian Wei from the Noun Project, diabetes test by Arfan Khan Kamol from the Noun Project, Phone by Gregor Cresnar from the Noun Project, Computer by Guilherme Furtado from the Noun Project, Congress by MRFA from the Noun Project, Car by Made from the Noun Project, Spotlight by Moxilla 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:

Randi Kahn is a Senior Media & Content Director in our Reputation & Risk Management Practice, where she helps clients build and protect their brand reputations through executive thought leadership, public affairs, and issues preparation and response. She has worked for clients throughout the healthcare ecosystem including payers, providers, patient groups and pharma.