AstraZeneca climbs oncology reputation ranking to claim 2nd spot after Roche

AstraZeneca’s booming oncology business has won over cancer patient groups. Having languished down the leaderboard in the past, the drugmaker vaulted (PDF) over many rivals in PatientView’s latest survey to take the second spot on a reputation ranking. 

The emergence of AstraZeneca as a popular pick for cancer patient groups follows years of fast growth. In 2017, AstraZeneca reported (PDF) $4 billion in oncology revenue. Since then, the company’s annual cancer sales growth rate has ranged from 13% to 50%, culminating in oncology revenues topping (PDF) $17 billion last year. Four of AstraZeneca’s cancer drugs brought in $2.5 billion or more in 2023.

While AstraZeneca’s oncology sales have risen relentlessly, the company’s standing with patient groups has been less consistent. The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker ranked (PDF) fourth in 2020, up one place on the prior year, but then slipped away rather than pushing on to crack the top three. AstraZeneca was neither in the top three nor one of the fastest risers in the reputation reports for 2021 (PDF) and 2022 (PDF).

The latest edition reveals AstraZeneca was a long way off the pace in 2022 but has bounced back with a bang, climbing eight spots to take second place. AstraZeneca’s antibody-drug conjugate partner Daiichi Sankyo is the other big riser, although its six-place jump fell short of the top three.

AstraZeneca is sandwiched between repeat winner Roche, which took the top spot again, and Pfizer on the leaderboard. That ranking covers the views of patient groups that are familiar with companies. A similar picture emerges after narrowing the analysis to patient groups that work with the companies. AstraZeneca rose seven places on that ranking to take second spot behind Roche and ahead of Servier. 

The companies are the standout performers in a sector that came in for criticism from the patient groups in the latest survey. Sixty-three percent of cancer patient groups said pharma has an excellent or good corporate reputation, down from 67% in the two previous surveys. The result mirrors the trend seen in PatientView’s broader survey of patient groups. 

As in the broader survey, PatientView tracked a decline in the proportion of cancer patient groups that regard pharma as good or excellent on most metrics. The biggest drop was in the proportion of groups that think the industry is at least good at innovation, with PatientView tracking a 9% slide. Perceptions of pharma’s handling of pricing and access to medicines deteriorated between the 2022 and 2023 surveys.