Pharma's tarnished rep is slowly improving: Study

Bayer HQ

Pharma’s image hasn’t exact been squeaky clean lately given drug pricing probes and public pushback. But the industry’s reputation is improving a little, and some companies such as Bayer are still winning high marks with consumers, according to a recent study.

The Reputation Institute, a firm that measures reputation for different industries, looked at ratings for 14 pharma companies that have global footprints. Pharma’s image improved slightly with consumers in 2016, the firm found. But overall results were mixed.

About 37% of respondents thought that the industry had an excellent reputation. But 35% of consumers rated pharma’s rep as weak or poor. The younger generation, or consumers aged 18 to 24, gave the industry low marks on reputation.


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Pharma’s reputation also varied by income level. Respondents who had high income gave the industry higher marks than people in low or middle-income groups.

Among the companies included in the study, Bayer got the prize for best reputation. It was the only company with a strong image, according to the study results. Consumers rated Bayer highly for having good leadership, performance, workplace and products and services.

Novo Nordisk ($NVO) also got points for having a good reputation. The company, which clinched the number three spot on the Reputation Institute’s rankings, got top marks for innovation, governance and corporate citizenship.

When it comes to trustworthiness and honesty, AbbVie ($ABBV), Novo Nordisk and Merck ($MRK) ranked highly. But more than a fifth of respondents in the survey rated Merck, Sanofi ($SNY), Allergan ($AGN) and AbbVie as “arrogant, aggressive and selfish,” according to the study results.

- read the report (PDF)

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