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Has The Pandemic Changed Public Perception of Big Pharma?

Since the covid-19 outbreak in late December, the relentless and lack of positive perception from the general public about ethics and trust of pharma companies, and public health is still significant. 

Fears and doubts have generally become more evident. For example, vaccine hesitancy remains a global barrier, where 64% of people surveyed are willing to vaccinate – only 1 in 3 is immediately ready to take the vaccine, according to the 21st Annual Edelman Trust Barometer.

Perceptions of Pharma

Publications, media and press also contribute to creating public concern.

Publications that state that Big Pharma lobbying has put profit before the pandemic response, or reports made in tabloids about companies investigated over unethical price hikes are still prominent.

The potential lack of communication about pharmaceutical public education, such as research, donations or latest investments, may hinder the misconception around the industry. 

Research on the perception of pharma conducted in Italy has shown that the lack of information towards the industry is still significant, for example. Therefore, the pharmaceutical world is not clear and transparent enough for the public, especially in term of social responsibility. 

How has the pandemic affected the Pharmaceutical industries?

The pandemic itself has improved health data and raised people’s trust in the healthcare sector, including the biotech sub-sector. Meanwhile, according to the Edelman Trust in 2020, the concept of safety has become a prerogative for people to trust governments and scientists. 

By addressing the surrounding misinformation that leads to the notion of distrust between the general public and big pharma; the appearance of the pharmacological industry has recently undergone a relentless awareness campaign and medical brands to improve people’s understanding. The importance of reliable information and, consequently, trustworthy leadership has become pivotal. 

Indeed, it has become clear through concise and insightful communication that the pandemic has forced many industries to review the channels by which they operate and increase transparency. Therefore the more people who are informed, the better understanding they have.

The use of new health technologies, therefore, seems to have positively affected people’s trust in governments, and in turn the healthcare system, wellbeing and longevity.

To conclude, the ability to respond to public need has started to take shape. Through increasing trustworthiness in the system as a result of the pandemic, pharmaceutical companies have perhaps laid the groundwork for long-term change.