The reputation of the Pharma Industry

Written by David Jones

Jul 3, 2023

July 3, 2023

A couple of months ago I downloaded the results a survey detailing reputational insights into the global pharmaceutical industry and I’ve been meaning to highlight the results on the blog ever since.

The report, produced by Caliber ( monitors how thousands of companies around the world are perceived on a daily basis through automated online interviews with real people across various stakeholder groups. The pharma report is based on the insights gathered in 2022 from interviews conducted in the UK, US, France, Germany, Japan, Brazil & China and the data is based on interviews with more than 17,600 people.

For reference (according to Caliber) in each country, the respondents are randomly selected, and the sample is representative of the national population in terms of gender, region and age within the age span of 18 to 75.

The representative nature of the sample in this study is achieved solely by setting demographic quotas. There is no weighting of raw data or results.

What it shows is a fairly stable reputational state for the industry, albeit at different level in the various countries surveyed.

Sadly the entire pharma industry is ranked in the bottom half of the sectors surveyed by Caliber,

1 FMCG (non-food) Index
2 Retail, Food Index
3 Retail, General Index
4 Electronics & Appliances Index
5 Food & Beverage Index
6 BigTech Index
7 Industrial & Machinery Index
8 MedTech Index
9 Automotive Index
10 Pharmaceutical Index

Just below it are Chemicals, Insurance and… banking, with Pharma being the only industry to remain stable in the lower half.

Scores vary across the globe

Across the globe the industry has a relatively average reputation, but this varies from a 59/100 score in Japan, to an 81/100 score in Brazil. (Again, for reference France=60, Germany=64, UK=66, US=69, China=73).

Now to the worrying part – the industry is viewed far more negatively by the elder population than younger, or put another way, buy the people who use it the most! (25-34 year olds=72, 65-75 year olds=62) although possibly unsurprisingly it’g held in higher regard by higher income level respondents.

Caliber reports that the industry continues to be perceived best around its Offering and Innovation, while perceptions of its Integrity declined more than other reputation attributes. Perceptions of the industry’s overall brand expression also trended downward, with perceived Authenticity, Relevance and Inspiration declining the most. The development in reputation and brand scores may be associated with a less visible role of the industry as the COVID-19 pandemic fades from public debate.

Looking at the ‘Trust & Like’ score, that pretty high amongst customers (77), but low amongst those who aren’t engaged in any way with the industry (57). In short, non-engagers don’t trust or like the industry very much, but the report concludes, they don’t actually know why!

Companies included in the index are perceived best in terms of their product offering, innovation and ability to show industry leadership. However, while these are important metrics for building a strong reputational foundation, the industry does not inspire strong advocacy from the public. Currently, only 4 in 10 people are likely to say something positive about a pharma company if given the chance.

There’s good news too!

Good news is that the public, in general perceive the industry more favourable following COVID, global more than 50% of respondents had a more favourable view following the pandemic, and this was particularly the base in China and Brazil.

Looking at what areas would instill more trust in the industry the public chose drug safety (39%), putting health above profits (36%), and pricing (34) were at the top of the list. At the bottom were diversity and inclusion (6%) and corporate activism (4%). This was a slightly mixed picture in individual countries though, with people in Europe having higher expectations for pharma companies to prioritise public health over profits, while pricing is a more central issue for pharma in Brazil and the US. While in the US the focus on pricing is associated with people’s access to personal health insurance, the focus on pricing in Brazil is more connected to the general pressure on the universal healthcare system to provide leading treatments to the public.

Medical professionals has similar responses with drug safety (40%), health over profits (40%) and Pricing (36%) at the top of the list, diversity and inclusion (6%) and corporate activism (3%) at the bottom.

Finally of the 23 companies surveyed in the report, no.1 spot went to Haleon, last place to AstraZeneca.

You can download the full report from

Related Articles

6 months through the year already!?

6 months through the year already!?

This month I want to highlight that the full multimedia of our recent ‘Cardiology, Diabetes, and Nephrology at the Limits Japan’ meeting is now available to view on our multimedia hub We had contributions from a global faculty of experts along...

The Malvern Diabetic Foot Conference

The Malvern Diabetic Foot Conference

Every two years, in May, we have the privilege of running the Malvern Diabetic Foot meeting. The 2024 conference last month was the 20th meeting since its inception in 1986, and over three days engaged physicians, surgeons, podiatrists, orthotists, nursing staff and...

AI in Healthcare – Dr Google will see you now

AI in Healthcare – Dr Google will see you now

'One of the key tenets of At the Limits has been to provide medical education to the widest possible audience, irrespective of global location or wealth. It’s a way in which we can contribute to the democratisation of healthcare. And that’s something that will become...