Pandemic has little impact on pharma’s reputation, says report

The pandemic has had very little positive impact on the public’s perceptions of pharma although the industry has fared much better than politicians, according to a report.

According to the report from Takeda UK, only 17% of respondents said their impression of pharmaceutical companies had improved, based on how the industry had reacted to the coronavirus pandemic over the previous six months.

Findings were based on the report entitled Pharma: Repurposed? where Takeda commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct online interviews among adults aged 16-75 from the UK.

In all, 1,104 interviews were conducted in October 2020.

Aside from the 17% who said their impression of pharma companies had improved during the pandemic, 54% said their impression had stayed the same and 16% said their impression had got worse.

Less than half of respondents trust the pharma industry to act in the best interest of society, while 82% of respondents trust healthcare professionals to act in society’s best interest.

The pandemic has had a positive impact on UK adults’ perceptions of healthcare professionals, with 44% of respondents saying their impression had improved.

In contrast, UK adults’ impression of politicians is markedly worse, with 51% of respondents saying their opinion of government ministers had worsened over the last six months.

When asked to give an opinion on a range of organisations and roles, just 38% of those interviewed had a favourable opinion of pharma companies.

Over a third of respondents had neither a favourable or unfavourable view of the pharma sector, suggesting the industry needed to engage more with the public on its role and activities.

Healthcare professionals were highly regarded by 74% of those interviewed as well as healthcare charities and scientists within the pharma industry (53%) were well regarded.

Total unfavourable views of government ministers stood at 55% and other politicians at 54%.

Jon Neal, managing director for UK and Ireland at Takeda, said: “The pharmaceutical industry has faced several reputational challenges over the years. However, perhaps now more than ever, the development of new treatments relies on cross-sector collaborations and public trust and willingness to engage with the sector.

“Therefore, we need to address perceptions of the industry to improve the future of healthcare and ultimately save lives.

“We hope this report will lead to further discussion about how the industry can convey a stronger purpose to build trust with both patients and other healthcare organisations.”

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