Pfizer, Moderna drop off in consumer ranking of favorite brands—that could stymie uptake of their digital therapies

The news: Pfizer and Moderna dropped dramatically in the list of US consumers’ 100 favorite brands in 2022 compared with the 2021 list, per a new report by The Harris Poll.

  • In 2021, Moderna held the third favorite spot in the eyes of US consumers. This year, it didn’t even make the list.
  • Similarly, in 2021, Pfizer was consumers’ seventh favorite brand. In 2022, it dropped 37 spots to number 44.

What’s driving the drop: Pharma companies' high reputations were carried in 2021 by their COVID-19 vaccine efforts. But most US consumers don’t view COVID-19 as an emergency anymore.

Only 9% of US adults describe COVID-19 as a “serious crisis,” according to an April 2022 Axios survey of over 1,000 adults. Most (73%) of US adults believe COVID-19 is a problem, but is manageable.

  • US vaccination rates have plateaued across all racial and ethnic groups, per KFF. So, pharma companies likely have less mental real estate in consumers’ minds this year than last year.
  • All US racial and ethnic groups only experienced a 1 percentage point or less change in vaccination rates between March and April 2022, according to KFF.

Consumers' lack of trust in pharma could also be driving the drops in ranking.

  • Only 15% of US consumers say they trust pharma companies more than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Accenture’s 2021 survey.

What it means for pharma’s digital health moves: Big pharma’s digital therapies already have low rates of adoption. This will only be compounded by consumers’ lack of trust in and bad perceived reputation of pharma brands.

  • Earlier this year, Pfizer and Alex Therapeutics partnered to provide digital therapies to patients seeking treatment for nicotine addiction.
  • And in May, Sidekick Health teamed up with Pfizer to launch a DTx solution for atopic dermatitis.

But it’s unlikely consumers will try out digital therapies from companies they don’t trust.

  • Digital therapeutics adoption is already on the lower end (10%) vs health tech, like telehealth (32%), per Accenture.
  • That’s likely because digital therapies are still relatively new technologies in the grand scheme of digital health tech.