Patients laud Lundbeck, Gilead, but give pharma's rep low marks

Patients aren't happy with the pharma industry. A drumbeat of bad pharma news in 2012 took its toll on public opinion to the point where only one-third of patient groups gave drugmakers a thumbs-up. The companies plagued with the most bad news saw their reputations suffer most.

According to the annual PatientView survey, 42% of patient groups in 56 countries rated pharma's reputation as "fair," while 25% called the industry's rep "poor." Only 4% gave the business "excellent marks," with 30% deeming pharma "good" in the eyes of patients. Forty percent of the groups surveyed said pharma's reputation had suffered in 2012, with a "poor" record for fair pricing and "poor" ratings for transparency.

Some companies outclassed their peers, however. Denmark's Lundbeck scored the highest marks, with Gilead Sciences ($GILD) in second place (up from 10th last year) and Novartis ($NVS) in third. Lundbeck's high ratings might stem from its patient communications--the company topped the survey's charts for "providing high-quality information to patients" and for "being transparent with external stakeholders." Novartis was tops in "patient-centered strategy," while Gilead was deemed best at "acting with integrity."

Eli Lilly ($LLY) vaulted into the top 10, ranking 9th after last year's 18th. And Novo Nordisk ($NVO) hit 7th place, up from 11th. GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), meanwhile, dropped from 4th to 10th, perhaps because of the widely publicized--and record-setting--$3 billion settlement with the U.S. government. Novo appeared to gain points for watching out for patients' welfare--the Danish company outranked all its rivals for "ensuring patient safety."

A little more information on the survey and its participants: Almost three-quarters of respondents were based in Europe, with 13.4% in the U.K and 11.5% in the U.S. The survey asked respondents their opinions on 29 drugmakers, including all the usual Big Pharma suspects, plus smaller pharmas such as UCB and Lundbeck and biotechs such as Biogen Idec ($BIIB) and Amgen ($AMGN).

- see the report from PatientView

Editor's Corner: How will pharma fare in 2013? It's complicated