These are the most -- and least -- reputable drug companies in the world

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Drug companies have been hit hard this year.

Public opinion, trust and reputation of pharmaceutical companies appear to be eroding, according to a new analysis from the research consulting firm Reputation Institute.

Pharma giants saw a 3.7% decline in reputation score from last year. There was also a significant decline in the public’s perception of the transparency, openness and authenticity of drugmakers.

The points are calculated from 2,608 individual ratings on seven areas: products and services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, leadership, and financial performance. These contribute to companies’ “RepTrak” score. Overall, of the 22 pharma companies ranked, Sanofi was number one and Pfizer was last.

Here are the companies ranked from worst to best based on perception.

22. Pfizer. RepTrak Points: 54.5

Pfizer had the lowest reputational score among the pharmaceutical companies that Reputation Institute looked at, based on the general public’s perception of product, prices and public hospitality. It was reported in May that Pfizer used charity to mask a heart drug price hike. Pfizer also had a huge role in the drug shortage crisis, according to Fortune.

The drug giant is now taking some new risks and dipping its toes into some uncharted scientific territories like gene therapy and cancer immunotherapy.

“Pfizer’s reputation has remained consistent since 2017 and is on par with our multinational biopharmaceutical peers given the variance in reputation scores is limited. We look forward to continuing to educate our stakeholders about Pfizer’s mission to discover new medicines and to ensure patients have access to them,” Pfizer representatives said in an email statement to Business Insider.

21. GlaxoSmithKline. RepTrak Points: 57.4

Reuters via handoutGSK CEO Emma Walmsley

GSK just welcomed the first female big pharma CEO onboard in 2017. With that, came a reshuffling of 40% of the company’s top management team in a bid to bring in new ideas.

The drugmaker has seen increased competition in its core businesses: respiratory and HIV treatments. It entered into an open rivalry with Gilead over HIV drugs in November 2017.

In April, the company’s shingles vaccine was recommended by the US Center for Disease Control.

However, in May, regulators in Europe and the US issued warnings about a link between the company’s HIV drug, Tivicay, and certain birth defects. But just last month, the company’s two drug HIV met goals in late-stage studies.

“At GSK, our purpose is to help people do more, feel better and live longer and we accomplish this with our innovative medicines and vaccines. We have a legacy of ensuring people have access to our medicines and our vaccines, and we lead the pharmaceutical industry in the fight against so-called super bugs – all of which has been recognised by the Access to Medicine Foundation,” GSK said in an email statement to Business Insider.

20. Merck. RepTrak Points: 58.4

Famous for drugs like Keytruda, Merck has had a bit of a comeback as a winner at ASCO with its positive melanoma data. But the company has had its share of bad headlines as well. In May 2017, Merck paid $US60.2 million to resolve a lawsuit about its practices to delay entrance of generic drugs into the market. Merck was also accused that month of operating an anti-competition scheme. In August 2017, Trump called out Merck’s CEO about lowering drug prices and increasing transparency in their operations. Merck, along with GSK and Pfizer were the only pharmaceutical companies to have a “weak” score, while the rest had “average” or “strong” reputations.

19. Mylan. RepTrak Points: 61.2

CBS screenshotMylan CEO Heather Bresch

It’s been a bumpy year for Mylan. The drugmaker faced scrutiny over its EpiPen recalls, followed by outcry over generic drug pricing. In June, however, Mylan scored a key approval for a biosimilar version of the drug Neulasta, which could help save the US billions.

18. Takeda. RepTrak Points: 61.6

Over the past year, Japanese drugmaker Takeda has been growing its global presence, first by sealing a deal with Ariad Pharmaceutics and then acquiring Shire, the maker of Adderall, for $US64 billion.

17. Teva. RepTrak Points: 64.3

The Israeli company is a huge manufacturer of generic drugs. In December 2017, it cut 25% of its workforce, but its stock got a bump in February after Warren Buffett declared a stake in it.

16. AstraZeneca. RepTrak Points: 64.3

AZ, known for producing Crestor – a drug that treats high cholesterol and triglyceride levels – saw a win in lung cancer data in May this year, but suffered a setback from an Alzheimer’s drug in June that failed to show signs of working.

15. Eli Lilly. RepTrak Points: 66.0

Lilly is the producer of Cymbalta, a drug widely used for depression. The company was also part of the cohort that had to jump ship on its Alzheimer’s drug.

14. Boehringer Ingelheim. RepTrak Points: 66.4

Wikimedia Commons

The German pharmaceutical firm manufactures drugs not only for humans but for their pets as well. The company is now partnering up with some other big names to develop anti-diabetic medication.

13. Bristol-Myers Squibb. RepTrak Points: 66.7


BMS is making a big bet its new investments into immunotherapy-combination drugs for combating cancer.

12. Roche. RepTrak Points: 67.4

Swiss drug company Roche is still one of the biggest in the world. In February, it acquired Flatiron Health, a cancer technology startup for $US1.9 billion.

11. Amgen. RepTrak Points: 67.9

Amgen got a big win in May when the FDA approved its preventive migraine drug Aimovig, which is the first of a new class of medications that’s going after the huge migraine market.

10. McKesson. RepTrak Points: 68.7

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

McKesson distributes not only drugs, but also health IT, medical supplies and care management tools. In June, the company reduced the CEO’s pay by 10% after investors revolted.

9. Novo Nordisk. RepTrak Points: 68.8

The Danish company is known as a diabetes drug giant. The turbulent US market forced it to lay off 3,000 people and axe its long term growth plan.

8. Allergan. RepTrak Points: 69.8

The Botox-maker has had a rocky relationship with its investors this year. It’s been actively refreshing its board, and just last month, it announced its plan to sell off two of its non-core businesses to appease investors. In June, the company presented positive data in a glaucoma candidate and meet goals with its oral migraine drug.

7. Gilead. RepTrak Points: 70.1

Gilead has historically been focused on antiviral drugs to treat diseases like HIV and hepatitis C. But earlier this year, it just made a huge bet on an experimental gene-editing technology for cancer treatments.

6. Bayer. RepTrak Points: 70.7

Best known for making aspirin, the German company is also throwing its hat in the ring to bet on gene therapies. In June, Bayer finalised its $US66 billion merger with agriculture giant Monsanto, which has farmers worried.

5. Biogen. RepTrak Points: 72.0

The company specialises in treatments for neurodegenerative, blood-based, and autoimmune diseases. Althought it hasn’t made many major moves this past year, it’s still a major player when it comes to its neuroscience pipeline. Early this year, it sold its hemophilia drug maker company, Bioverativ, to Sanofi for $US11.6 billion.

4. AbbVie. RepTrak Points: 72.3

The Humira-maker spun out of of Abbott Laboratories back in 2013. Recently, its rheumatoid arthritis drug successfully completed a late-stage trial. AbbVie was ranked first in last year’s list, but has fallen back a few spots this year.

3. Celgene. RepTrak Points: 72.5

Courtesy of Celgene

Celgene specialises in drugs for cancer and inflammatory diseases, known for its treatment of multiple myeloma. However, in February, the company hit a major setback with its multiple sclerosis drug.

2. Genentech. RepTrak Points: 74.0

A subsidary of Roche, Genentech is investing in a new way to treat Alzheimer’s. It also recently made a $US534 million deal with Microbiotica to research gut bacteria in hopes of developing new treatments for inflammatory bowel disease.

1. Sanofi. RepTrak Points: 74.6

Sanofi’s winning characteristics lies in its promotion of ethics and transparency, according to Reputation Institute. Sanofi has in the past year promised to limit price increases and disclose “transparency reports” behind overall costs of its drugs.

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