The Reputation and Risk Management Practice

The Syneos Health Reputation & Risk Management Practice is a group of communications counselors on the speed-dials of life-science leaders in need of solutions for the industry’s most sensitive, emerging challenges. The group is known for proven, evidence-based strategies to address topics including the affordability of medicines, compassionate use, safety, litigation and access barriers. Our counsel and subject matter expertise is gained from decades of experience serving in the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Congress, healthcare consulting, legal communications, public health and crisis communications.

Offering Solutions to Healthcare's Most Sensitive Challenges

1. Pricing Sensitivities

Drug pricing and the affordability of medicines is at the center of sustained debate in the United States and beyond. The first question asked of commercial leaders is, “What is the price?” even before their medicine is on the market. Often, media headlines paint a binary image of high list prices, but don’t convey patients’ actual out-of-pocket costs and support medicine maker offers.

Our Reputation & Risk Management Practice has developed a number of products to help customers proactively communicate the value underpinning a new medicine in terms that resonate with diverse audiences, from patients to policymakers. 

We provide an evidence-based approach to avoiding policy, patient, and provider pushback on price by building stakeholders’ expectations and perceptions about a medicine’s value early in the approval process. Benchmarking shows new therapies we support receive a highly positive reception in the marketplace.

For therapies undergoing public evaluation of their cost-effectiveness, our experts in communications and health economics help convey the value of your medicines and engage patient and physician groups to advocate for optimal access.


2. Modern Activism
Social media has enabled anyone, from key opinion leaders to caregivers and patients, to visibly advocate for their concerns online and quickly escalate a voice of one to a chorus of the many. This democratizing impact on activism is occurring simultaneously to a proliferation of health content online. Increasingly, patients and caregivers are exposed to information about investigational and marketed medicines. Sensitive topics such as pricing, access and the “Right-to-Try” drugs are gaining more visibility, though not necessarily more clarity. 

These debates are increasingly waged in public view, and can have an enduring digital footprint, potentially creating a perfect storm for all audiences. In this real-time world, a Tweet carries new power as it may represent a patient’s plea for life-saving medicines. Patient advocacy groups hold important influence in this era of modern activism, both with biopharmaceutical companies and patients. Our Reputation & Risk Management team can provide best practices for how life-sciences companies can deploy effective and sensitive digital and preventative strategies, including:

  • Applying digital communications within vocal patient communities
  • Best approaches for handling affordability and access online
  • Engaging advocacy groups in communications strategy and resource development
  • Fostering a culture of preparedness

We help you protect your brand equity in this environment. We foster a proactive approach to instill a corporate culture of prevention and responsiveness.


3. Compassionate Use
With increasing information available about investigational medicines, and changing public policy requirements, requests for compassionate use (also known as expanded access) to unapproved medicines are common. Compassionate use must be handled sensitively so as not to damage a developer’s reputation within the very community it hopes to serve when commercialized. We help you establish a clear policy, protocols and advocacy engagement to prepare for expanded access and compassionate use inquiries, ensuring compliance with the 21st Century Cures Act.

4. Value Frameworks
In response to escalating drug prices and rapid innovation in the biopharmaceutical industry, a number of independent value assessment frameworks have launched in recent years. The broadest of these, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), has become known for assigning value benchmarks to drugs relative to outcomes and costs to the healthcare system. ICER’s metrics help set reimbursement and discount expectations with payers, clinicians, and patients. Our Reputation & Risk Management helps customers plan and execute an ICER review strategy that demonstrates and defends product value, enables internal strategic alignment, and leverages advocate activation and media relations. We have a proactive approach to protect the value of your medicine before frameworks such as ICER or others determine it for you.