The multinational medical device industry has a "good" or "excellent" corporate reputation, according to 52% of patient groups responding to a new survey. In comparison, just 40% hold this view about pharmaceutical companies.

In fact, this level of endorsement of the device industry's reputation places it, in the eyes of patient and patient groups, above all other healthcare sectors apart from retail pharmacists, says the independent study, which was funded by PatientView.

However, the report also reveals that only 33% of responding patient groups believe the reputation of the medical device industry has improved during the past five years, with 32% considering that its reputation has declined over the period. The study defines "corporate reputation" as the extent to which medical device companies are meeting the expectations of patients and patient groups.

64% of respondent patient groups said that the device industry is "good" or "excellent" at being innovative, and 57% held this view about how the industry ensures patient safety. On other measures of the industry's performance, the percentages of patient groups holding this positive view were: - practising ethical marketing, 32%; - being transparent with external healthcare stakeholders, 30%; and - adopting fair pricing practices, 22%.

The survey also looks at which individual companies in the sector have the best corporate reputations from the patient perspective. The clear winner is Coloplast, which the groups judged to be best on all the following six indicators: - whether the company has an effective patient-centred strategy; - the quality of the information which the company provides to patients; - its record on patient safety; - the usefulness of the firm's products to patients; - its record of transparency with external healthcare stakeholders; and - whether the company acts with integrity.

Medtronic takes second place for how it performs against the six indicators, and Smith & Nephew is third, with Roche Diagnostics fourth and Abbott and Johnson & Johnson in joint fifth place, according to the survey, which polled 300 patient groups drawn from 42 countries across the world.

PatientView comments that some of the larger device companies did not score well with the patient groups, and also that the findings "make relevant reading in light of the European Commission's call on February 9 for immediate action by national governments to 'tighten controls, increase surveillance and restore confidence' in the distribution of medical devices."