- Americans now view big pharma with more distaste than any other industry, according to a new Gallup poll.
- Just 27% of Americans regarded the pharmaceutical industry positively, compared with 58% who hold a negative view, the poll found. That resulted in a net rating of minus 31, compared with plus 4 just five years ago.
- Even the federal government — which many Americans love to hate — has a better reputation than the drug industry, which now ranks the lowest out of 25 industries considered by Gallup. More than 1,500 Americans living in all 50 states and the District Columbia were included in the group's poll.
Gallup's poll shows how low the pharmaceutical industry, which faces public outrage over high prices and an ongoing epidemic of opioid abuse and overdose, has fallen.
While lawsuits and "public shaming" persist, the sector might have a hard time recovering public trust, Gallup notes.
Pharma's slumping reputation does worry top drugmaker executives, who have voiced concerns about the long-term effects for an industry whose reputation for some Americans has gone from life-saving to profiteering. While some drugmakers make limited efforts to rein in pricing, a wholesale reevaluation of pharma's business model hasn't yet occurred.
Drugmaker leaders note how it has become harder to recruit the best talent.
"Science has become a bad name, and a worse name is biopharma," Regeneron co-founder and chief scientific officer George Yancopoulos said in June. "If we don't engage the brightest young minds to solve our toughest problems, those problems are going to wipe us out."
Other industries have recovered from controversy, Gallup notes. The real estate industry, for instance, has gone from near the bottom of the list in 2008 to a top 10 rated industry in 2019 as the broader economy recovered. The oil and gas industry, meanwhile, got its best rating yet this year, as gas prices have remained largely stable.
For the past eight years, the federal government has held the bottom spot in Gallup's poll. A quarter of respondents view the federal government favorably this year, compared with 52 percent who have a negative view. That gave it a net rating of minus 27, four points above pharma's mark.
Gallup has been surveying Americans about their views on various industries since 2001. The drug industry's score of minus 31 is its lowest ever.