Back to stories

Purpose, a route to regaining trust in Big Pharma

13th March, 2019

By Mary Deboos

Purpose Big Pharma Cover

As an industry, since its roots, Pharmaceuticals has devoted itself to creating products and brands that transform patients’ lives.

From vaccines that eliminate diseases, improved treatments for cancer and drugs that significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke, Pharma has much to be proud of.

And yet, many people don’t trust Pharma

The Edelman trust barometer has shown Big Pharma scoring in the mid 50s for the last 4 years. Lower even than Financial Services (1.)

Edelman Trust Barometer

There are, of course, many reasons for the low trust score, for example high drug prices, products lacking clear differentiation and a belief that the industry cares only about profit.

But, we are much more interested in how you can proactively build trust.

People increasingly buy based on what brands do

We are seeing changes in attitudes towards buying, increasingly people take societal stands into account when choosing a brand or a company. They respond to brands that have a Purpose.

2 In 3

So, we asked ourselves why Pharma hasn’t embraced Purpose

  • Is it complacency? With significant investment in the development of new, life changing treatments why do more?
  • Is it compliance? As a highly regulated industry does Pharma feel too constrained?
  • Is it a lack of creativity? Decisions should be driven by data and evidence, taking a creative leap is risky and may not give a clear return on investment.
  • Or is it simply that they cannot see what it will give them?

But we know it works. Purpose really does build value

We are working with an increasing number of companies who are building value based on having a Purpose within society and living this Purpose through their actions.

Other industries have proven that brands and companies with purpose grow faster:

Purpose Value Driven Companies Unilever

Unilever has even published details of the growth they have seen from their sustainable living programme.

So perhaps there is something in Purpose for Pharma!

Imagine working for the Pharma company or Pharma brand that is solving world issues, knowing that you are part of making a difference, beyond even discovering, making and selling drugs.

Imagine a world where Pharma embraced Purpose and used their reach to go beyond their brands by addressing some of the world’s most serious problems and resolving some of the world’s big inequalities.

Imagine working for the Pharma company or Pharma brand that is solving world issues, knowing that you are part of making a difference, beyond even discovering, making and selling drugs.

We believe that the first Pharma company to embrace Purpose will not only stand out from the crowd but can also increase the trust in the industry. They have such an opportunity to do something amazing and different.

We’d love to know your thoughts on how Pharma can embrace Purpose, please comment below or feel free to get in touch with Mary or Carol.

Mary.DeBoos@OxfordSM.com

Carol.Garbutt@OxfordSM.com

Sources:

1: 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer

2: Edelman Earned Brand Report 2018

3: Corporate Culture And Performance (HBS)

4: Unilever Sustainable Living Plan 2018

Join our mailing list