Pharma industry, J&J drop in public opinion poll

Pharma was the only one of 13 industry sectors in 2009 to suffer a reputation decline when compared with the previous year. Its 2009 positive rating of 29 percent marks a two point drop from 2008, as measured in the annual Harris Interactive industry-reputation poll of the general public.

Meanwhile, the manufacturing industry saw its reputation improve by seven percentage points to 40 percent over the previous year. Despite the 11 point gap between the pharma and manufacturing reputations, they are sequential in the rankings, holding positions 6 and 7. Pharma manufacturing professionals may wish to emphasize the "manufacturing" during social events.

Among individual companies, Johnson & Johnson yielded the 2008 overall top spot to Berkshire Hathaway but remains ahead of Google, as it did a year ago.

Of the six "reputational dimensions" that Harris uses in its rankings, J&J grabbed top spots in social responsibility and emotional appeal. Its fourth-place finish in the products and services category is matched by its placement in the workplace environment category. It did not make the top five, however, in the categories of financial performance and vision and leadership.

The polling began in late December and ended in mid-February, so the messy Tylenol recalls may have affected then public's perception of the company. Even so, J&J placed sixth--tied at 37 percent with Home Depot--in the highest-trust category.

- here are the survey results