Survey: Consumers aren’t fond of the pharma industry

The reputation of the pharmaceutical industry is tanking among U.S. consumers, the latest Gallup poll reveals.

The poll, which ranked Americas’ views of U.S. business industry sectors, placed the pharma industry at the bottom with a net-positive score of -31. Industries with the top views included restaurant (+58), computer (+50) and grocery (+43).

“Americans are more than twice as likely to rate the pharmaceutical industry negatively (58%) as positively (27%),” the poll reads.

The pharma industry unseated the federal government as the lowest-rates industry––the government placed or tied for last consistently from 2011 to 2018. In fact, “few industries have been rated lower than the pharmaceutical industry's current -31 net rating,” the poll noted.

The low image comes as the pharma industry is at the center of the national opioid abuse and overdose epidemic, which claimed 68,000 lives last year. At the same time, drug prices have skyrocketed over the past several years with few signs of slowing down, leaving patients on the financial hook.

Thousands of lawsuits have been launched against some of the biggest producers of opioids, including Purdue Pharma, which is currently negotiating a settlement rumored to fetch between $10 billion and $12 billion, and Johnson & Johnson, which faces a $572 million judgment.

“As the opioid epidemic rages on––and as the actors involved in creating it continue to experience lawsuits, protests and public shaming––it may be hard for the pharmaceutical industry to make a comeback just yet,” the Gallup poll report reads. “The industry's rating likely will not recover until its role in the opioid epidemic is addressed, and the political pressure on the industry for high prices and massive profits subsides.”

Other industries could see their favorability turn if economic forces change, the report concluded.