Click here to enlarge. Reputation data sourced from RepTrak, which surveys approximately 1,300 members of the general public that meet a familiarity threshold, scores their perceptions of a representative basket of biopharma firms and converts them to a 1-100 scale.

Pharma has never experienced a period offering as much potential for veneration — or vilification — as it did over the course of the past 18 months. With the world frantically searching for a way out of the COVID-19 crisis, the industry saw its reputation soar for the first time in years.

But as vaccination rates plateau and pandemic restrictions become yesterday’s news, will the public’s memories of the heroic race to develop vaccines and treatments fade? The graph on this page pins public perception of pharma to corresponding news events, showing how intimately its reputation is intertwined with R&D milestones, COVID-19 case increases and decreases, and vaccination data, not to mention the 2020 lockdown and subsequent reopenings.

As history shows, reputation and trust gains are dependent on myriad external factors, many of which are out of a company’s direct control. That said, people sure seem to think that pharma rose to the challenges of the moment. At least for now, anyway.