The public image of drug firms is not as bad as some insiders believe, and in fact the industry may well be “shooting itself in the foot” by perpetuating the erroneous belief that it is generally poorly regarded.
So concludes David Lewis, corporate affairs director of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.
Speaking at a conference on pharmaceutical responsibility and reputation at Thames Valley University, Mr Lewis said that in a recent survey, 49% of UK Members of Parliament of all parties described their feelings towards the industry as “mainly favourable,” while the views of 18% were “very” favourable.
Only 16% of the MPs described their opinions of the industry as “mainly unfavourable” – fewer than the 17% who said they held none of these views.
Moreover, of 2,000 UK adults who were asked the same question, 51% said they were favourably disposed toward the sector and just 14% were unfavourable.
Of adults polled, 26% also said their positive views of the industry were based on use of medicines, either by themselves or someone else, and they admired drugmakers for their R&D and discovery of new medicines and for saving lives.
However, there was also widespread dislike of the industry’s perceived “excessive” profits, pricing policies and activities in the Third World, Mr Lewis said.