Consumers are changing the way they feel about big pharma in a big way. Recent advancements in Covid-19 vaccinations have painted pharmaceutical companies in a new light and across the spectrum, the public opinion on big pharma is changing for the better.
All Hands On Deck
When the pandemic became global in 2019, the world almost immediately started discussing a potential vaccine. The quickest anyone has ever produced a vaccine was the mumps and it took about four years. Obviously, there was a lot of work ahead and big pharma was to play a huge role.
In reality, vaccine trials are notoriously long and take months, if not years of testing. How did the FDA, CDC, and big pharma change that? They didn’t really have an option. With the pandemic raging, everyone was on board to get this vaccine made as soon as possible. All the typical roadblocks were removed and funding was easily accessible. The message was clear to pharma brands around the world – let’s get this done in a record-breaking amount of time.
Consumer’s relationship with big pharma hasn’t always been positive thanks to some bad actors over the years. What could possibly make consumers trust big pharma again? It could be the hope of going back to a “normal” life. Since Covid-19 became a worldwide pandemic, the entire planet has been desperate for a vaccine to put an end to the deaths and disruption. Thus, the world has looked to pharmaceutical companies.
It seems their prayers have been answered. As of writing this piece, there are currently four varieties of coronavirus vaccine which have proved effective, with three companies ready to administer their own product including Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca. The United Kingdom has started administering the vaccine to its residents with the US and other western nations soon to follow.
Many see the organizations like Pfizer and Moderna as the heroes of the pandemic, working with global leaders and experts to create a vaccine in the shortest amount of time ever recorded. A recent Harris Poll discovered almost 75% of those questioned had heard of Pfizer’s success with its vaccine. Additionally, 48% of those polled have a more positive view of the company and the industry in general. Pharma Times also showed no marketing plan could ever achieve such results.
So what does this mean for big pharma looking forward? This type of popularity boost isn’t without precedent. In the 1940s President Roosevelt called on pharmaceutical companies to boost the production of penicillin, an essential tool in healing soldiers during WWII. As of yet, it could not be mass-produced, however, companies, most notably Pfizer, innovated new ways to create vast quantities of the medicine, saving thousands of lives during the war. You can bet that paid off big for the brand in the decades after.
As Covid-19 vaccinations are administered around the world, it’s hard to tell where public opinion will swing. If the vaccines are effective and available, the positive perception of big pharma will inevitably continue to rise. The largest roadblock to companies like Pfizer and Moderna at this moment is simply getting the vaccines in the hands of the people and ensuring they’re administered. Despite rising confidence in pharma brands and the vaccine, a large portion of the American population has stated they will not take the vaccine. Will that change as its effectiveness can be gauged and society slowly returns to normal, or is skepticism here to stay? We will be watching to see how big pharma leverages its new hero status in 2021.