Pharma earns failing marks for integrity, but it beats advertising

The good news is that the pharmaceutical industry's reputation isn't as bad as the government's. Cable news and professional sports, either. The bad news is that pharma came out ahead only because the rest were even worse. The industry garnered a mere 9% vote for integrity.

Americans surveyed in the "Sex, Lies and News" Ipsos survey ranked themselves highest for integrity, reports Advertising Age. Almost three-fourths (74%) chose "you yourself" when answering the question "Who practices integrity?" Doctors had the next highest number of nods at 30%, but the favorable votes quickly dropped off thereafter.

Newspapers (10%), financial institutions (9%), the legal profession (9%) and pharma (9%) were next in line. Advertising and marketing ranked the lowest with just 4% of respondents giving that industry favorable marks. What might the latter's low integrity score mean to the pharma advertising and marketing crowd? That could be even lower.

Questioning pharma's integrity isn't bombshell news to drugmakers, who must be used to dismal reputation rankings by now. Harris Poll's 2015 Reputation Quotient survey found that only 37% of respondents answered positively about the pharmaceutical industry's reputation. It ranked ninth out of 14, narrowly nudging out insurance (36%), airlines (36%) and financial services (35%). Pharma's score stayed at almost the same percentage as it had in the previous two years. (In case you're wondering, tobacco and government tied for last place with just 15% of people giving positive mentions.)

PatientView's annual roundup of patient groups' opinions also found pharma companies ranked low, coming in at No. 5 among 8 healthcare industries. In the 2014 survey, 39% of patient respondents rated multinational pharma's reputation as "excellent" or "good." That survey also asks patients about specific activities by pharma and found that only 29% trust pharma's marketing practices to be ethical, although that is an increase from 23% in 2013.

- see the AdAge story
- check out PatientView's numbers
- get the Harris Poll info