May 26, 2022 - Health

Health brands' reputations rise after pandemic

Percentage who say they have a positive opinion of <span style="border-bottom: 2px solid #000;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span> industry
Data: Harris Poll; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

A renewed focus on health and wellness has been a boon to the reputations of health care companies, according to new rankings from the annual Axios Harris Poll 100.

The big picture: Health care brands helped Americans get through the COVID pandemic, improving their level of confidence and trust with consumers in the process.

  • The Axios Harris Poll 100 is an annual survey to gauge the reputations of the most visible brands in the country.

Zoom in: Health insurance companies are now more visible than ever, with two insurers — Blue Cross Blue Shield and UnitedHealth Group — returning to the list this year.

  • BCBS entered the list ranked 13 and UnitedHealth Group ranked 33, both considered "very good" scores.
  • This comes after insurers — which handle both drug and medical bills for millions and, increasingly, play the role of providers — covered community-based and home COVID-19 testing and therapeutics, as well as expanded telehealth options.

Between the lines: Unlike many industries, health care companies saw stronger scores across values like citizenship — or value to a community — and trust compared to attributes like products and services.

  • This was especially true for pharmacies like Walgreens (30) and CVS (36), which ranked much higher on citizenship compared to their overall reputation score (an average of scores ranked across seven factors, including trust, culture, ethics, citizenship, vision, growth and products and services.)
  • Both national retail pharmacy brands focused on expanding their consumer health care delivery roles with the distribution of COVID vaccines and therapeutics, as well as conducting COVID testing.
  • They also continued consumer retail sales of key COVID-related products like hand sanitizer and face masks.

Yes, but: Not all health care firms fared as well coming out of the pandemic.

  • Pfizer's reputation score, while still considered "very high," dropped significantly in the past year, reverting back to pre-pandemic levels, as urgency around the COVID-19 vaccine subsided.
  • Pfizer was coming off a reputational high after partnering with BioNTech to create a life-saving COVID vaccine in record time.
  • Expectations have come down to earth a bit as the company has tried to message the need for boosters amid waning immunity while dealing with delays in the production of shots for kids under 5.
  • Johnson & Johnson (72), which created a COVID vaccine that ultimately ran into serious stumbling blocks, didn't improve year over year. 

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