HIV/AIDS companies dominate the corporate-reputation rankings in 2013
After something of a hiatus in innovations reaching the market, the last two years have seen a turnaround, with both Gilead and ViiV introducing new compounds to the satisfaction of the HIV/AIDS community. However, despite the accolades, both companies have come under criticism for their pricing strategies from groups such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
AbbVie and Janssen
Interestingly, AbbVie and Janssen are both positioned highly (among the top five) in the 2013 rankings. This may be due—having disassociated themselves from their medical-device business interests—to their adoption of a pharma-focused strategy. Both companies are clearly invigorated by the process, and begin their new lives with fresh corporate strategies that include a patient-centric focus. AbbVie, like ViiV and Gilead, has also benefited from the launch of a novel HIV/AIDS drug.
Rising stars in 2013
Three other companies stand out as a result of the significant upward shifts they have made in the corporate-reputation rankings. These are the Italy-based Menarini, which jumped from 19th position in 2012 to 8th in 2013 (up 11 slots); France-headquartered Sanofi, which moved from 23rd position in 2012 to 15th in 2013 (up 8 places); and the Israel-based generics-come-research firm Teva, which also rose 8 spaces (up from 28th in 2012 to 21st in 2013). Although respondent patient groups do not provide The Corporate Reputationsurvey with the reasons for their selections, it is possible to speculate that Menarini’s success is due (at least in part) to its rapid corporate expansion programme, with extensive acquisitions and partnerships worldwide. Sanofi, in addition to undergoing significant restructuring, has embraced two sizeable biotech firms, and its delivery of new products and a new patient-centric strategy has been interpreted positively by patient groups. Teva has made patient centricity a cornerstone of its gameplan, and, on the whole, patient groups tend to be more favourably disposed to generics companies than to pharma (because the generics business promotes wider access to drugs for patients than pharma).
Two further companies with successful corporate reputations are Roche and Eli Lilly. Both inhabit the top-10 positions, and each has moved up two slots since 2012—Roche from 8th to 6th, and Lilly from 9th to 7th.
Falling stars in 2013
A number of companies (notably Lundbeck and Novartis) have seen their positions decline.
What causes pharma company reputations to rise or fall?
The Corporate Reputation of Pharma ‘league tables’ provide feedback on the patient perceptions of each individual pharma company during one particular year. To enable PatientView to turn these patient perceptions into hard, comprehensible figures, large numbers of patient groups need to be included in the study. 800 patient organisations took the time and effort to complete the survey for 2013. As far as is possible to tell, patient groups are influenced by five main factors when balancing up the reputation of a pharma company:
- A good portfolio of products that brings hope to people suffering from the medical conditions familiar to the patient group.
- Media coverage about the company (allied to comments received on the ‘grapevine’ from peer patient groups about the behaviour of a corporate).
- A sense among the patient group that a company is truly putting patients at the heart of its business approach. The company needs to demonstrate this fact, not simply articulate a desire to be patient centric.
- A perception among the patient group of a year-on-year positive change in the company’s investment stance across the patient arena—whether it is support for specific patient organisations, for big campaigns, or for patient-centred research.
- A feeling among the patient group that a company’s relationship with it (and with peer patient groups) can be relied upon to be long, rather than short, term.
Since the circumstances of individual pharma companies can fluctuate significantly, so, too, can their reputations (as perceived by patient groups). An interesting analogy might be with a company’s share price, which can rise or fall, reflecting the market’s perception of the health of the company’s financial future.
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