HIV/AIDS specialist company ViiV has the best corporate reputation out of 33 pharmaceutical companies, according to 800 patient groups worldwide polled for PatientView’s latest annual review.

ViiV, a joint venture between GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Shionogi, was voted by the groups as being best for five out of six indicators - patient centricity; patient safety; provision of high-quality, useful products; transparency; and integrity. Only in the provision of high-quality patient information did the firm drop to second place, behind Gilead; the latter firm came second to ViiV in all other five indicators.

Overall, the patient groups voted the top 10 in terms of corporate reputation as: - ViiV first this year, unplaced last year; - Gilead, remaining in second place for the second year running; - AbbVie, rising to third from sixth last year; - Pfizer, up to fourth from fifth place; - Janssen, dropping to fifth from fourth; - Roche, rising to sixth from eighth place; - Eli Lilly, up to seventh from ninth; - Menarini, jumping to eighth place from 19th last year; - Novartis, dropping to ninth from third, and - Novo Nordisk, up to tenth place from 11th.

Last year’s overall leader, Lundbeck, has dropped out of this year’s top 10, to 22nd place.

Examining the reasons for patient groups’ perceptions of these companies, PatientView comments that both Gilead and ViiV have recently introduced new compounds to the satisfaction of the HIV/AIDS community - although they have both been criticised for their pricing strategies by groups such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

It also suggests that the top-five rankings for AbbVie and Janssen may be due to their adoption of  pharma-focused strategies, having disassociated themselves from their medical-device business interests. “Both companies are clearly invigorated by the process, and begin their new lives with fresh corporate strategies that include a patient-centric focus,” it notes, also pointing out that AbbVie, like ViiV and Gilead, has also benefited from the launch of a novel HIV/AIDS drug.

Patient groups responding to the survey do not provide reasons for their selections, but PatientView speculates as to why three other firms -Menarini, Sanofi and Teva - have risen fast this year.

Menarini’s rise from 19th to eighth place could be due, at least in part, to its rapid corporate expansion programme, with extensive acquisitions and partnerships worldwide, while Sanofi - up from 23rd to 18th - has, in addition to significant restructuring, embraced two sizeable biotech firms, and its delivery of new products and a new patient-centric strategy have been interpreted positively by patient groups, it says.

And Teva, up from 28th place to 21st, has made patient-centricity a cornerstone of its gameplan. PatientView also comments that, on the whole, patient groups tend to be more favourably disposed to generics companies that branded drugmakers, because the generics business promotes wider access to medicines than the latter sector.