New independent study reveals Covid impact on Pharma reputation


Who managed to improve and who failed in the everlasting love-hate relationship between pharma and the public?

(16 September 2020, Copenhagen, Denmark)

Caliber has published the results of independent comprehensive research it has conducted about the global reputation of pharmaceutical companies and the impact of Covid-19. The consequences of the pandemic on the sector are vast, and it has had
an overall positive impact on perceptions of Big Pharma, presenting an opportunity for a reset in the troubled relationship between the sector and the public worldwide.  According to Caliber’s global research, the pandemic added to an already rising reputation of the sector, measured through a so-called Trust & Like Score. The impact, however, varies widely across countries, from a positive uptick of 8.5 points in the US to a drop of 6.4 points in Norway. Trust & Like Score is measured on a scale of 0 to 100.

Caliber’s report is based on more than 13,000 interviews conducted in 17 countries (China, Brazil, USA, Canada, Russia and 12 European markets), and the analysis of over 47,000 evaluations of 67 pharmaceutical companies in total, including 14 so-called “Big Pharma” companies. This comprehensive research provides an in-depth understanding of the sector’s reputation among the public.

“Originally completed for publishing in early 2020, the study has been extended after the outbreak of Covid-19 and brought us a better understanding of how the pandemic affected the reputation of the sector.” says Caliber CEO Shahar Silbershatz.

When looking at the 14 Big Pharma companies, the study results show that some were affected positively, while others lost credibility with the public. On the “winning” side are Novo Nordisk, Teva, Merck/MSD, Sanofi and AstraZeneca, while on the “losing” side are Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, AbbVie and Takeda. Analysis shows that familiarity also played a role, with the more well-known companies being less liked and trusted.

This study shows that the reality of the global pharma sector’s reputation surpasses expectations, but that it also struggles with perception issues. That is in particular evident in Europe and among the elderly population.

“At first glance, it appears that pharma companies’ overall reputation levels are higher in emerging and southern European markets than they are in mature and northern European ones. We can also see a clear pattern of an inverse relationship between average reputation levels and the quality of the national healthcare system as well as GDP per capita. People in poorer countries, and in countries with healthcare systems judged to be of lower quality, appear to be more favorable towards pharma companies.” says Silbershatz.

In most countries the lowest score given by respondents to pharma companies is for Relevance, which is defined as “standing for something people can relate to”. Relevance is also the perception area most positively impacted by Covid-19 according to the study, indicating the opportunity for the sector these days. Results also show a certain age paradox: the elderly, who by default are more reliant on medical treatments, are surprisingly less favorable towards pharma, with a significant 7-point difference in average Trust & Like Score between Millennials and Boomers.

“The pharma industry is a unique and fascinating one – but it must do better at explaining its complexity to its audiences… Pharma professionals can use this report to focus such efforts on the right areas, and the trend is already positive – but much work remains!” says Herbert Heitmann, former Chief Communication Officer for Bayer, who has written the foreword to the report.

The study is based on Caliber’s Real-Time Brand & Reputation Tracker (RTT) platform that measures public perceptions of companies around the world. RTT has been conducted by Caliber since 2016 and is answered daily by thousands of people all over the world through a digital questionnaire distributed online (CAWI). This report is based on results during 2019-2020.

The full study available Here

For data clarifications and statements please contact Caliber CEO Shahar Silbershatz

About Caliber
Caliber is a Danish startup that aims to make the business world more trusted and trustworthy.  We offer companies real-time stakeholder insights through a SaaS platform that surveys thousands of people every day and generates easy-to-use perception metrics. Companies use these metrics to improve communication, marketing and culture – and build a trusted business.

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