The reputation of drugmakers would appear to be on the rise, at least with investors, according to this year’s rankings of the world’s most respected companies published by the leading financial magazine Barron’s.

Investors were asked how much, or how little, they respect each of the world’s 100 largest publicly traded companies and leading the healthcare sector is Johnson & Johnson. The company came fifth, advancing from 13 last year and 32 in 2012.

Other impressive performers include Gilead Sciences (up to 15 from 30 last year), Novartis (up 13 places to 22), Amgen (24), Bayer (25), Bristol-Myers Squibb (27 from 48) and Roche (rising to 31 from 38).

Merck & Co slipped two places to 43 while AstraZeneca entered the ranking at 48, three spots ahead of its recent suitor Pfizer. Novo Nordisk was up 12 places to 54, while GlaxoSmithKline fell from 56 to 59; Sanofi came in at 74, down seven.

Apple has retaken the top position on Barron’s list, taking over from Warren Buffet’s investment conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway which slipped to second. Boeing jumped 23 places to third and Google repeated last year’s fourth spot.

In terms of what inspires respect, Barron’s noted that of those polled, strong management (24%) and ethical business practices (22%) are the most important elements, followed by sound business strategy (17%), competitive edge (16%) and product innovation (7%).