Public Thinks Less of Pharmaceutical Industry in 2009

April 6, 2010
Pharmaceutical Commerce, Pharmaceutical Commerce - April 2010,

In latest Harris Interactive study, reputation of the pharmaceutical industry drops, but still fares better than some sectors

How does the public view the pharmaceutical industry? According to Harris Interactive’s 2009 Reputation Quotient (RQ) Study, not as great as in the past. Of 13 industry sector reputations measured, only the pharmaceutical industry declined in 2009, dropping from a 31% positive rating to 29%. Eleven sectors saw positive gains in reputation, with the biggest jumps seen in the retail and automotive industries, both gaining 9 percentage points. The tobacco industry saw no change in reputation, maintaining its spot at the bottom of the list with a positive rating of only 11%.

Now in its 11th year, Harris’ survey is a two-step process, conducted at the beginning of this year, that first identifies the most “visible” companies across a sampling of the general public, and then their relative reputation among those respondents. What was it about 2009 that caused the drop in reputation for the pharma industry? The study didn’t offer that insight, but last spring’s slew of mergers could be one culprit—nobody likes seeing powerful companies grow even more powerful. The yearlong spotlight on the nation’s healthcare system probably didn’t do much for the industry’s reputation, either. Despite the drop, the pharmaceutical industry still outperformed five others in terms of reputation: automotive, airlines, insurance, financial services and, of course, tobacco.

In addition to providing industry ratings, Harris Interactive also ranked the reputations of America’s 60 most visible companies. Johnson & Johnson has consistently appeared at the top of the list; this year the company ranked second only to Berkshire Hathaway.

Procter & Gamble was another visible pharmaceutical company rated for its reputation, this year tying with The Walt Disney Company for a “very good” rating. New to this year’s list is Pfizer, which scored a 69—considered “fair” by Harris Interactive.

Download the full Harris Interactive RQ study.