We swallow their pills but lots of us love to hate the pharmaceutical industry. Are we right?
Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients was published in 2012 and quickly became a bestseller. Author Ben Goldacre explained how the pharmaceutical industry chose unrepresentative individuals for drugs trials, withheld unfavourable results, hiked prices and wrote academic papers without disclosure of interest.
Ill people can be vulnerable, and there was something morally suspect about these corporations who seemingly cared only about the bottom line, rather than higher concepts such as saving lives. It was easy to hate big pharma.
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) retaliated at the time, stating that the research was out of date, with examples that were “long documented and historical, and the companies concerned have long addressed these issues.”1
A recent survey by PR firm Edelman for their 2018 Trust Barometer2, found that the healthcare sector as a whole, incorporating pharma, biotech and hospitals, has seen a small reduction in global trust, with 63% of global respondents trusting the sector to ‘do what is right’ compared to 65% the year before.