AbbVie, Novo, Takeda take home honors in pharma's latest reputation study

AbbVie HQ
AbbVie ranks No. 1 on Reputation Institute's 2017 list of pharma companies with the best reputations.

Which pharma company has the best reputation? Boston-based Reputation Institute has a few ideas.

A study based on more than 16,500 reputation ratings collected throughout the U.S., Europe and Brazil during first two months of this year has ranked AbbVie No. 1. It’s followed closely by Novo Nordisk and Takeda, who edged out rivals from a group of 17 companies to earn spots on the institute’s top 10.

The showing marks a jump for AbbVie, which last year took the tenth spot.

“Since the company’s inception less than five years ago, we have worked to raise a better understanding of AbbVie among our key stakeholders,” Laura Schumacher, AbbVie’s EVP of external affairs, said in a statement. “We are pleased that these efforts have resonated with our global audience and driven greater understanding of who we are and what we stand for as a company.”

Following behind Takeda in the top five were Roche and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, with Gilead, Bayer, Merck, Sanofi and Eli Lilly rounding out the list of 10.

Just how does RI define reputation, exactly? Its metric, dubbed RepTrak, folds in what the institute calls the “seven rational dimensions of reputation,” including products and services, innovation, leadership and performance. Within those seven dimensions, AbbVie led the pack in the workplace, governance and citizenship categories, while Novo took the crown when it came to both products and services and innovation.

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AbbVie’s not the only company to see its standing rise over the last year, despite the pricing hullaballoo that continues to surround the industry. According to RI, the reputation of the entire pharma sphere is on the up-and-up and “is now at a strong level with the general public.”

That first part is hard to contest; it would have been difficult for pharma’s reputation to get much worse after a 2016 in which the industry was very publicly slammed for, among other things, “price-gouging” and “getting away with murder.”

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But despite big-money efforts from individual companies and industry organization PhRMA to improve drugmakers’ images, a recent study found that barely more than half of American consumers trust pharma, with the industry ranking as the second least-trusted in the U.S.