Piloting the Storm – pharmaceutical industry and public opinion in emerging markets

Fabián Echegaray and Adriana Cordeiro
Market Analysis Brasil, Brazil


A specter haunts the pharmaceutical industry in emerging markets like Brazil, the threat to get permanently tagged as a model of social irresponsibility. The combination of societies with high social needs, the growing upper hand of pharmaceutical corporations (particularly multinationals) with a corresponding reduced role for the state due to fiscal underperformance and overt destabilization of the economy, conflicts of interests between the industry and the government, frequent episodes of corporate misconduct or failures to properly address problems, issue salience, and negative coverage by the media represents a unique scenario favoring the multiplication of pressures over large firms to behave empathetically with its local community. Such a vague notion as empathy translates into clear-cut expectations for social engagement, in addition to demands for positive and responsible behavior with regards to operational and functional activities and duties by companies.