Pharmaceutical industry ranked one of the highest contributors to UK society, but public perception still falls far below other sectors

Written by: Mike Wood
Published on: 27 Jun 2019
  • The Total Value Index launched today is the first framework to compare the actual value British businesses bring to society with their perceived value
  • The pharmaceutical sector has the highest gap of any sector between perceived value and actual contribution to society
  • The findings demonstrate the impact of recent public drug pricing battles with the NHS, and the need for the industry to look again at how they articulate the value of their medicines

London, 27th June 2019 – The pharmaceutical industry ranks among the least successful sectors in demonstrating its value to society, a new study by Portland has revealed. 

Portland’s inaugural Total Value Index has launched today and measures the value that organisations create for all stakeholders. It looks at nine sectors and uses a wide range of measures including profits and dividends, R&D levels, employee diversity and satisfaction to records on corporate tax and the environment, to assess and rank the total value performance of sectors. It also tests the findings against how an external informed audience thinks the different sectors are doing and why.

The pharmaceutical industry scored consistently low on perceptions for most measures. In real terms, however, Portland’s data found that they industry adds much more value than most sectors, particularly in local investment, strong dividend performance, and the presence of female CEOs. These findings reflect the opportunities for industry to communicate its real terms contribution and close the gap between opinion and reality.

Pharmaceuticals had the largest perception gap of any sector for their role as a producer, demonstrating the greater need for individual companies to explain the life-changing nature of the medicines that they create.

Negative drivers that lowered overall perceptions of the industry included public drug price debates with the NHS, Brexit stockpiling uncertainties, executive pay, and lack of transparency over clinical trials.

Dr Jane Brearley, Senior Partner and Head of Health at Portland, said: “These findings show that the pharmaceutical industry can no longer rely on old narratives of large R&D investment to raise its reputation. To cut-through to payers and the public, individual companies must centre their value story on the life-changing effects of their treatments for patients, and their ability to provide the NHS with the headroom it sorely needs”.

The Total Value Index measures the value brought to society by nine sectors – retail, TMT, banks, automotive, real estate, oil & gas, food, water and pharma.