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View of pharma industry sinks to new low in US, poll reveals

Published on 06/09/19 at 11:21am

The public have always been reticent with their trust in the pharmaceutical industry, but that trust has hit an all-time low as a new Gallup poll reveals that the industry is now the most hated in the US.

The poll, conducted in August this year, illustrated that American responders were more than twice as likely to have a negative opinion of the industry than a positive one: 58% said they had negative views of pharmaceutical companies, while just 27% held views that were positive, representing a total net score of -31.

This revealing result is the lowest the industry has ever ranked in the poll sicne it began in 2001. The only industries to plumb even lower depths have been the automobile makers, real estate, oil and gas, and federal government.

While the pharma industry ranked among the lowest, the top three most positively viewed were the restaurant, grocery and computer industries.

As evidence of a major driver of this distrust, it was recently reported by STAT that executives from pharma firms including Pfizer, Sanofi, Amgen and Eli Lilly had personally funded Republican Senators to the tune of $200 million, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator John Cornyn.   

“It’s clear that some number of these CEOs are trying to make sure that Republican candidates who might act on this issue [of drug pricing] choose not to take it up,” Bob Blendon, a Professor of Political Science and Health Policy at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, told STAT. “What you have here is an effort to make sure a popular issue with voters isn’t acted on.”

Matt Fellows

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