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Pharma's reputation on the wane, say patient groups

Survey outlines their demands that the industry "must do better" for its patients

Pharma industry

The pharma industry's reputation with patient groups has taken a turn for the worse, with the latest PatientView survey showing a decline across a majority of metrics.

This year, just 37.9% of 1,463 respondents thought that the industry had an "excellent" or "good" corporate reputation in 2016, down from 44.7% in the prior report, which was a peak for the sector since PatientView first started conducting the survey of international patient organisations in 2011.

There was also sobering news on the effectiveness of pharma's relationships with patient groups – a new metric added to the 2016 survey – with respondents sending a "must do better" message to the industry.

There were declines for the industry across the board. Last year 74% of respondents felt pharma was either "excellent or good" at making high-quality products, but that declined to 64%. Being innovative still scored fairly well but slid 10 points to 59%, and there were similar trends for access to clinical trials and ethical marketing, which fell 27% and 25% respectively.

The patient groups now think that just 20% of drugmakers do well on transparency, and unsurprisingly pricing remains a thorny issue. This year just 11% of respondents felt the sector was doing a good job of providing fair pricing for its products, down from 15% a year earlier. It's an unsurprising finding given the focus on unfair pricing by the US presidential candidates before last year's election and subsequent comments from President Trump that the industry has been "getting away with murder".

Overall, only 23% of patient groups thought that pharma's corporate reputation had improved over the previous five years, whereas 28% had that opinion in 2015. And the industry is not alone, with almost all other groups covered in the survey (including generic and biotech firms) also seeing declines other than not-for-profit insurers.

PatientView's survey also looks at individual pharma companies' reputations and this year's poll revealed that ViiV Healthcare - the HIV-focused joint venture between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Pfizer and Shionogi - was once again ranked number one.

ViiV led the pack overall and also for all seven indicators of corporate reputation covered in the survey:  patient-centricity; patient information; patient safety; useful products; transparency; integrity; and effectiveness of patient-group relationships. It ranked ahead of AbbVie, Novartis, Novo Nordisk and Gilead Sciences in the top five, with Grifols, Shire, Octapharma and Allergan jumping up the rankings.

Pfizer's Hospira unit was at the bottom of the pile below Valeant, which has been embroiled in pricing scandals and is under investigations by the US authorities. Rounding out the bottom five were Stada, Bial (which was hit by a drug testing tragedy last year) and Novartis' Sandoz subsidiary.

Patient groups have also proposed a 14-point plan for pharma to improve its relationship with patient groups, headed by more partnering, more or better patient information, and greater consideration of the cost of drugs.

Article by
Phil Taylor

23rd March 2017

From: Marketing

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