Big Pharma’s reputation returns to normal levels in the post-pandemic era, but the industry must connect products, innovation, and leadership with societal impact to improve trust

A new study published by Caliber has found that the reputation of the global pharmaceutical sector is returning to normal levels in the post-pandemic era. However, the industry must connect products, innovation, and leadership with societal impact to improve trust.

According to the report, ethical behavior and corporate responsibility are critical to building trust in the industry. The report also identifies fair pricing and improving drug safety as key challenges for the industry to tackle in order to drive trust.

As the pandemic subsides the reputation of the Pharma industry is impacted more by inflation and the energy crisis than by COVID-19 
While the overall perceptions of the industry were relatively stable throughout 2022, the year was not without perceptional shifts.
At the beginning of the year, attention on the sector was still high as the Omicron variant dominated the headlines. In February, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine kickstarted a geopolitical conflict which in turn impacted energy prices triggering inflation.

This changed the global focus from the pandemic to a financial/geopolitical crisis and shifted attention somewhat away from pharma. In 2022, major changes in perception happen mostly around innovation breakthroughs and financial results.

Products/Innovation are industry strengths; Brand and Integrity challenged
The industry continues to be perceived best through its Offering and Innovation, with perceptions of the two attributes being closely linked. Perceptions of the industry’s Integrity declined more than other reputation attributes.
Only 4 out of 10 people are likely to say something positive about a pharma company if given the chance, which shows that many brands are not inspiring strong advocacy from the general public.

To improve the perceptions of the sector’s Integrity, Pharma companies need to demonstrate a distinct purpose and put actions behind their words when connecting their product offerings with corporate responsibility as well as show how they play a relevant role in people’s lives and society beyond delivering medical treatments.

Haleon has the best global reputation in the industry in 2022

As no surprise, Haleon ranks as the best-perceived pharma company in Caliber’s ranking in 2022. The brand’s focal point of attention is a deep understanding of people and science. By breaking down social barriers to everyday health while also focusing on the environment, inclusion, and being a responsible company Haleon is delivering on the key expectations for the industry.

Least Trusted & Liked Pharma companies in 2022
Novartis, J&J, Moderna, Pfizer, and Astra Zeneca are among the worst-perceived companies in the sector 4 of 5 of these companies in this year’s ranking have all been involved in COVID vaccine programs and have all seen a decline in reputations in 2022, as COVID-19 developed into a less critical pandemic.
In the post-covid era, despite less spotlight shining on the Vaccine pioneers, the focus has shifted from vaccine availability and distribution issues to long-term safety concerns, political controversy, and scrutiny over how the vaccines have been marketed globally.
“Building a solid reputation in the pharmaceutical industry requires a dedicated effort. The public demands not only cutting-edge innovation and safe, affordable products, but also a strong sense of purpose that extends beyond generating profits for shareholders. 
Companies like Haleon, Takeda, and Novo Nordisk are among the best-perceived companies in our index because they connect expertise with driving real change for patients. These companies show how they solve societal problems beyond delivering medicine. That is the expectation for pharma companies to build a strong reputation.”
Soren Holm 
Senior Advisor at Caliber
About the study

This report is based on the insights gathered in 2022 from interviews conducted in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US. The data is based on interviews with more than 6,800 people. The companies included in this report were selected as market leaders in the pharmaceutical sector within their respective geographies and are therefore seen as representative of the industry. 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.

About Caliber

Caliber is a corporate reputation monitoring and management platform which enables companies to understand how their brand is perceived by stakeholders anywhere in the world in real-time. We help global brands to win the trust of their employees, customers, investors, opinion leaders, and other stakeholders by harnessing the power of reputation data.