Press release 30 November 2022

Survey shows an improvement in research-based pharmaceutical industry reputation with people valuing pharma innovation and the benefits it brings to society

By IFPMA, Ipsos UK

New annual research conducted by Ipsos UK published today, shows that the research-based pharmaceutical industry has garnered a positive reputation, with its pandemic response and the impact of its innovations seen as key strengths by the general public.

The research-based pharmaceutical industry’s innovation and efforts to broaden access to vaccines and treatments are seen as drivers of positive sentiment among those surveyed. The Ipsos survey was conducted in 11 countries polling a representative sample of 11,000 people across both high and lower-income countries. The study was commissioned by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), the body representing over 90 the research-based pharmaceutical companies and associations around the world.

The actions of the research-based pharmaceutical industry during the pandemic were a potent demonstration of the value of medical innovation.

Thomas Fife-Schaw

Research Director, Ipsos UK

The survey underlines that industry’s unprecedented response to COVID-19 has contributed to a positive trend in terms of reputation. The public is highly positive about the sector’s ongoing pandemic response, with more than half of respondents considering that the pharmaceutical industry works well with governments, international organisations and other institutions to make their vaccines, medicines and treatments available to as many people as possible, worldwide. The public has an expectation that industry will continue to innovate against COVID-19, and have faith it will prepare, respond and deliver during future pandemics.

The survey found that:

  • 68% agree that research-based pharmaceutical companies have a leading role in advancing new technologies, such as better, more effective medicines or vaccines that are useful in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 62% agree that research-based pharmaceutical companies are doing all they can to develop solutions to COVID-19
  • 67% agree that research-based pharmaceutical companies have a leading role in the development of new technologies that could be useful in response to future public health crises, such as pandemics.

The survey indicates that there is also a broader understanding of the challenges and risks involved in the development of innovative vaccines, medicines and diagnostics, as well as the role intellectual property plays in enabling innovation and facilitating collaborations or getting a return on investment. The survey found that:

  • 62% of respondents agree that research-based pharmaceutical companies invest a lot of money discovering new and innovative treatments or cures
  • 62% agree that research-based pharmaceutical companies are more effective than governments at discovering new medicines and vaccines
  • 58% agree that the ability to rely on intellectual property enables the introduction of new technology.

The research-based pharmaceutical industry generates more trust compared to other sectors measured, such as technology, banking and insurance. Academic institutions, health agencies and regulatory affairs agencies are the most trusted institutions, followed by the research-based pharmaceutical industry which solicits marginally higher levels of trust than governments and the media.

The public recognise research-based pharmaceutical innovation as beneficial to society and the economy, with:

  • 60% agreeing that research-based biopharmaceutical companies make a positive contribution to society
  • 63% agreeing that companies contribute to improving health globally
  • 55% agreeing that companies make a positive contribution to the economy

The survey shows that younger cohorts (18-24 year and 25–34-year-olds) were found to be more likely to speak highly of industry (43% and 46% respectively) and this group is also more positive than other adult groups about the sector’s efforts to ensure their new medicines and vaccines are available for as many people as possible (59%).

Thomas Fife-Schaw, Research Director at Ipsos UK said: “The actions of the research-based pharmaceutical industry during the pandemic were a potent demonstration of the value of medical innovation. Our work has underlined that the core work and impact of the pharmaceutical industry’s activities remain reputational strengths, potentially challenging some existing assumptions”.

Thomas Cueni, IFPMA Director General, said: “From the outset of the pandemic, the research-based pharmaceutical industry committed to doing everything it could to develop and manufacture at scale safe and effective new vaccines and medicines. The survey reveals that it is seen as an industry that brings solutions to society. It is perceived as having collaborated broadly to make a difference, thus deserving a seat at the table to respond to future challenges to public health. We know trust is built up over decades and is very fragile. As we move on to tackle other public health challenges, this survey shows reputation and trust in our sector can be maintained if we continue to innovate whilst at the same time help people understand better how we do, what we do.”

Note to editor

The research was conducted by Ipsos UK between September 26 – October 21 2022, based on interviews with a representative sample of 11 000 adults aged 18+ in USA, UK, India, Brazil, Switzerland, France, South Africa, Japan, Belgium, Germany, Italy. The people interviewed in the survey reflect the population profiles of the general public in each country (through the use of quotas on key demographics including age, gender and region).

Separate research published by Ipsos (What Worries the World, October 2022) shows a sharp decrease in concern about COVID-19 over the last two years. In line with the current financial crisis, inflation, poverty, unemployment and social inequality have become top global concerns.

Media Contacts

Elliot Dunster
Thomas Fife-Schaw Research Director