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Harris Poll Finds Large Boost in Pharma Industry Reputation

Posted on March 15th, 2021 by in Pharma R&D

As the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out gains in intensity, it has become common to hear people toss out the names of pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca with the same ease that they refer to their favorite brands of ketchup or peanut butter. This isn’t typical. While direct-to-consumer advertising has perhaps increased some awareness of drug makers, the pandemic has made pharma R&D a subject of public interest in an unprecedented fashion.

The public is now more knowledgeable than ever about drug development and the science behind it. While more people probably just want to know when they can get the shot, not how it works, there have been legions of television segments and news articles over the last several months providing the details for the many people who are in fact very curious about exactly how these vaccines are helping to fight this global crisis. We showcased a lot of the research in real time right here in this blog, with pieces like this one.

The transparency that we’ve seen from big pharmas and the scientific research community during the vaccine development process has been a boon for the pharmaceutical industry. In February, the Harris Poll found nearly two thirds of Americans surveyed giving the pharma industry a favorable rating, with 62% offering a 5, 6 or 7 on a 7-point scale (7 being “very good”). This demonstrated a big improvement in pharma’s reputation, given that the poll’s rating of the industry was only 32% positive in January 2020.

It points to how much more favorably people view drug makers when they become more aware of the science. Consumers often only hear about pharmaceutical companies in the context of drug pricing or regulations, and are less attuned to the thrilling advances being made in the lab. The more pharmaceutical companies can do to de-mystify their R&D, and show how hard their scientists are working to create life-saving medications and treatments, the more likely they are to maintain this positive reputation.

Of course, it won’t be possible (or desirable) to match the same level of interest that there has been in COVID-19, which affected the entire globe so suddenly. As we make our way back to normal, people will naturally gravitate more to news stories about sports and celebrities than mRNA. But now that the door has been opened, the industry has the opportunity to take advantage of it.

The benefits of pharmaceutical science impact our lives every day, and we look forward to seeing drug manufacturers tell those stories and keep the heroic efforts of scientists in the spotlight.

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