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Pharma Reputations: Managing Perceptions

Geneva-based Covalence, a company that markets the information system, EthicalQuote, has observed that pharma is not keeping pace with other industries in terms of the overall balance of global good and bad news coverage in four broad ethical areas: labour standards, waste management, product social utility and human rights policy. “The pharma industry is losing its licence to communicate on CSR,” says its marketing and sales manager, Marc Rochat. “It is trapped into this problem with marketing practices, product defaults, patent infringements and a lot of other legal issues. This means there a lot of stories circulating that may make stakeholders and the media reluctant to be good channels for their CSR communication.” Rochat says the EthicalQuote healthcare index, comprising 30 leading pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, was ranked 8th out of 18 industry sectors on stories published in the global press between August 2007 and July 2008. This fell to 12th place on stories published between August 2008 and July 2009. It has since dropped to 13th. “It’s not really due to an increase of bad communication, which has remained pretty much the same,” Rochat says. “It is more a lack of positive coverage.” Other reasons cited by the company when the industry’s ethical reputation started to fade include philanthropy fatigue, where stories about donations lose their news value, and the fact that pharma companies are not naturally suited to environmental criteria. “In the current green era, showing their positive contributions to society is difficult,” the company says. “A return of social priorities on top of global political agendas should help them improve their reputation.” More…

Covalence in the News |  Companies: Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Merck and Co., Eli Lilly, Abbott |  Source: FirstWord

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