Pharma’s reputation sinks to ‘new low’, according to Gallup

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Gearstd)
(Image: Getty/Gearstd)

Related tags Drug pricing Pharma reputation Us Uk Donald Trump

A Gallup poll sees the pharma industry’s reputation fall to last place in a list of 25 prominent industries in the US.

Gallup, an analytics and advisory company, has published its annual review​ of the US public’s opinion of 25 industries based on the ‘Work and Education’ poll, conducted between August 1 and 14.

The pharmaceutical industry’s reputation received the lowest overall rating, with 58% of poll participants holding a negative view of the industry. Only 28% of respondents regarded the industry positively, while 15% held a neutral view.

Historical data, dating back to 2001, shows that the pharma industry has only received a net positive rating in two years.

Regarding this year’s analysis, Gallup observed, “Over the past 19 years, few industries have been rated lower than the pharmaceutical industry's current -31 net rating.”

Graph image
(Image: Gallup)

As to the reasons why drugmakers found themselves in such a position, Gallup stated: “The new low in the pharmaceutical industry's US image comes amid a range of criticisms of industry norms, from generating the highest drug costs in the world to spending massive amounts in lobbying politicians to the industry's role in the US opioid crisis.”

President Trump has been particularly vocal in his criticism of the price of drugs​, while candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, such as Elizabeth Warren​ and Bernie Sanders​, have campaigned on the cost of pharmaceutical products.

In terms of the opioid crisis, Gallup suggested that until the issue is fully addressed, it is unlikely that pharma’s reputation will recover.

Not just a US issue

However, the industry is not only suffering from a poor reputation in the US. In July 2019, a report​ put together by PatientView, with respondents being comprised of UK-based patient groups, found that only 28% of participants held a positive view for the industry, similar to the low levels found in the US.

Again, this study discovered a fall in the industry’s reputation compared with the preceding year, where 32% of respondents held a positive view.

Similar to the US, the reasons given for the pharma companies being rated in this manner were based on pricing, though the issue was the lack of transparency on how product prices are reached. Further than this, the report noted concern over how clinical data is shared and the funding of external stakeholders.

The drop year-on-year was explained by the fears that patient groups have over potential interruption to the drug supply in the UK, with companies publicly stating that a ‘hard’ Brexit could destabilize the supply of medicine​ between the UK and the European Union. 

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