Healthcare professionals (HCP) consider corporate reputation the leading factor when it comes to prescribing decisions, outside of a medication’s functional abilities, a study released Tuesday morning found. 

WE Communications, in partnership with Sapio Research, surveyed more than 1,000 HCPs around the world to evaluate which factors influence their perceptions of biotech and pharma brands as well as how this impacts their prescribing decisions. 

Two-thirds of respondents said that they are reluctant to prescribe medications from pharma and biotech companies with a less than stellar reputation. The study also indicated that when treatments have similar profiles, a drugmaker’s reputation is the differentiating factor among HCPs. 

Ninety percent of respondents said that these healthcare companies should support improving patient outcomes in ways that go beyond high-quality drug therapies, while nearly three-quarters said brands should add value beyond providing goods and services.

WE encouraged pharma and biotech brands to prioritize the development of corporate reputation programs focusing on thought leadership, medical education for HCPs professionals and advocacy for patients.

WE’s EVP of health innovation and growth Gemma Hudson noted that the goodwill and positive reputational gains that pharma and biotech brands received during the COVID-19 pandemic have started to wane, adding that the industry is at “an important crossroads” to maintain confidence among HCPs. 

“Our research indicates that healthcare professionals want pharma to go beyond medicine and address the entire healthcare experience, from education and support right through to tackling societal and environmental issues,” Hudson said in a statement. 

When it comes to what HCPs value most in a healthcare brand, it’s of little surprise that patient-centricity is the top consideration, followed by being innovative and progressive. 

These HCPs also said they expect the industry to offer patient support programs, improve the understanding of health information that is oftentimes complex in nature and demonstrate an understanding of the lived patient experience.

WE’s research is the latest to underscore the challenges pharma and biotech brands face in terms of navigating the post-pandemic landscape and meeting expectations from both HCPs and patients alike.

Last week, CMI Media Group released a report that found The LGTQIA+ community expects to hear more frequently from healthcare brands about a wide array of medical concerns and see them take a whole-person approach to the physical, mental and emotional health of the community.