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Pandemic has made little positive impact on public’s view of pharma

Contrary to popular belief COVID-19 has actually had little positive impact on perceptions of pharmaceutical companies, finds a new report launched by Takeda UK.

It also found that the pandemic has raised public perception of healthcare professionals while UK adults’ impression of politicians has got markedly worse.

The Pharma: Repurposed? report considers the importance of ‘purpose’ to the pharma industry and how the sector can convey a stronger purpose to strengthen trust and ultimately improve outcomes for patients.

For the report, Takeda UK commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct online interviews among adults aged 16-75 in the UK.

Just 17% of respondents said their impression of pharma companies had improved, based on how the industry had reacted to the coronavirus pandemic over the previous six months, while 54% said it had stayed the same.

With regard to the public’s perception of healthcare professionals, 44% said their impression had improved, but, in direct contrast, that of politicians has deteriorated significantly, with 51% of respondents saying their opinion of government ministers had worsened over the last six months.

Also of note, less than half (48%) of respondents trust the pharmaceutical industry to act in the best interest of society, and just 38% had a total favourable opinion of pharma companies, the survey revealed.

Over a third of respondents (36%) had neither a favourable nor unfavourable view of the pharma sector, “suggesting that the industry has more work to do to engage the public with its role and activities”, according to Takeda.

“The pharmaceutical industry has faced several reputational challenges over the years. However, perhaps now more than ever, the development of new treatments relies on cross-sector collaborations and public trust and willingness to engage with the sector. Therefore, we need to address perceptions of the industry to improve the future of healthcare and ultimately save lives,” said Jon Neal, MD UK and Ireland at Takeda.

“We hope this report will lead to further discussion about how the industry can convey a stronger purpose to build trust with both patients and other healthcare organisations.”