Reputation – General Public: Relationship with the NHS Read more about how the general public view the relationship between the pharmaceutical sector and the NHS

Perceptions of the sector’s relationship with the NHS are increasingly positive. Views are currently as positive as they were in the wake of the COVID vaccine approvals in 2020-21

The public remains positive about the relationship pharmaceutical companies operating in the UK have with the NHS. There is consistent recognition that the sector supports the NHS with treating patients.

The public is generally supportive of the sector collaborating with the health service. Around eight in ten people agree that pharmaceutical companies should work closely with NHS doctors to develop new medicines. Seven in ten agree they should work with universities to develop new medicines. There is little doubt that the sector is committed to developing new medicines to help meet people’s needs.

Detailed knowledge of how prices are determined is low, but many assume prices are high or unfair and feel the sector is opaque on this topic

Linked to perceptions of opacity, over half believe that medicines are priced unfairly, though this is a marginal improvement compared with last year. In the qualitative components of this research, participants discuss a desire to see pharmaceutical companies become more transparent about the true costs of medicines produced and the profits garnered. There is also an appetite for greater transparency around side effects or negative trial results.

Well, we don't see the pharma side of things. I just go to my local chemist and give them my scrip and my tablets come out. I look at the box and say, 'Oh, that's a different colour box this week.' It's from a different manufacturer, you know, same tablets.”
If they were more transparent when it comes to side effects of certain medicines and outcomes of clinical trials. Also the prices to develop medicines and costs they sell at

Fewer believe that the NHS is overpaying for medicine than last year, but a majority still believe this is the case. The public are marginally more positive this wave about medicines in the UK being good value for money and tend to reject the idea of the NHS using less effective treatments for a lower cost.

Publish the true costs of the medicine and how much profit has been made to supply them to the public and NHS

Last modified: 24 August 2023

Last reviewed: 24 August 2023