This month, the results of the 2021 PatientView corporate reputation survey were released. With insights from 240 US patient groups, a number of key findings were reported; here, we take a closer look.
Compared with 2020, there was an improvement in the corporate reputation of Pharma, with 67% of responding patient groups rating the industry favourably (previously 57%). Most respondents believed the industry is providing highly beneficial and innovative products and building quality relationships with patient groups. Regarding the response to COVID-19, similarly to 2020, 81% of respondents expressed a positive opinion of patient support provision during the pandemic. Another positive was the improved rating of ‘beyond the pill’ services.
Pre-COVID-19 issues persist, and for many activities of importance to patients, approval ratings dropped. Examples with the lowest scores included fair pricing policy, transparency, patient engagement, and access to medicines. Patient safety perceptions also took a downturn compared to 2020. Given that almost half of respondents did not view Pharma as behaving with integrity, this is a clear focus point for the industry and a key opportunity to build trust and promote ethical ways of working through good patient engagement practices. Respondents also highlighted the need to ensure patient-centric initiatives are more in line with patients’ priorities, a shift which will again build trust with patient groups as genuine patient centricity becomes more evident.
What can we learn from the highest placed companies?
Efforts related to COVID-19 response, such as the development of vaccines and treatments, helped drive the high rating of the leading companies. In April 2020, for example, top-rated company ViiV Healthcare launched their Global HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund (ERF) to support HIV research and help address challenges arising from the pandemic.
Furthermore, the high-scoring companies tended to be those offering patient assistance programs and educational websites/resources, launching awareness campaigns (such as Genentech’s Sister Pact, GatherMS, and SMA My Way, or Janssen’s Breaking Depression), and clearly communicating their collaborations and partnerships with patient advocacy groups. Another initiative of note is the Positive Perspectives Research (Wave 2) conducted by ViiV, which was conducted to improve understanding of the experiences of individuals living with HIV around the world, beyond viral suppression.
Finally, programmes that demonstrate a clear patient-centric model, both offering support and showing collaboration with patients and advocacy groups, are also viewed well by respondents. A good example of this is Horizon Therapeutics’ work in autoimmune and inflammatory rare diseases.
Overall, the way forward is clear – timely response to patients’ current priorities, rich provision of support and resources, and transparent collaboration with patient groups, are all ways in which pharmaceutical companies can tangibly implement patient-centric practice.