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Pharma companies’ reputations nosediving in the UK, finds report

Published on 31/07/17 at 02:32pm

The reputation of large pharma companies in the UK was revealed to be well below the global average, in PatientView’s annual report. The study asked UK patient groups a range of questions, with the major finding showing that only 25.3% of respondents evaluated the industry as having an ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ reputation.

This figure compares extremely unfavourably with worldwide patient groups that tallied 38% on the same barometer. With this said, neither figure is much to boast about for the industry, plagued as it is with serious questions over pricing policy.

The report noted that the main areas for concern for the patient groups were, unsurprisingly, drug pricing – with only 9% thinking that pharma pricing policy was ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’. There were also significant concerns over high-quality patient information, providing services beyond the usual business remit and making high-quality, useful products.

The last point of concern is a particularly worrying PR concern for the industry. It is not a shock that pricing has come up but lack of faith in the products the industry produces is a blow, given that this is at the core of the business.

Out of all countries surveyed in the global report, the UK was the most sceptical of pharma’s philanthropy – this was arrived at despite UK-based, GSK’s much publicised ethical pricing action in lower-income countries taking place in 2016.

There was good news for some of the companies involved, Novo Nordisk, for example, was found to be ranked 1st for corporate reputation –with patient groups noting it as being strong on patient centricity, patient safety and integrity.

The cause for pharmaceutical companies will undoubtedly not have been helped by the funding crisis that the NHS is currently undergoing, alongside a series of stories that broke earlier this year regarding the actions of certain companies. Pfizer, for example, was slapped with an £84.2 million fine by the Competition and Markets Authority fine for allegedly artificially increasing the price of a drug by 2,600%.

The report shows that the pharma industry has a long way to go to improve its reputation and has its work cut out in certain countries, in particular. The researchers noted that only one company, Janssen, was moved by the outcomes of the report to share further information with the patient groups.

Ben Hargreaves

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