Our nine-year analysis has found that the tone of headlines and articles tends to be more negative than positive for the industry.
Last year we reported a favorable trend, however, that the proportion of both negative headlines and negative articles was
declining from previous years. Table 3 shows that this trend did not continue in 2012. Negative headlines and negative articles
both increased in 2012. Our headline analysis shows a jump in negative headlines from 25 percent to over 42 percent negative.
At the same time, the proportion of positive headlines also increased (although more modest) while neutral headlines dropped.
Headlines remain more than twice as likely to be negative (42.5 percent) than positive (18.6 percent) toward the industry.
Table 3 also shows that full-text articles in 2012 were more likely to take a negative rather than positive stance toward
the industry (36 percent versus 24 percent) although the article imbalance is less pronounced than that of the headlines.
Table 3: Analysis of Headlines and Full-Text Articles
Regardless of whether the article takes a primarily positive or negative tone toward the positions of the industry, our audit
analyzes whether both sides of the disputed issue are at least acknowledged. This year 58.4 percent (66 of 113) of articles
mentioned both sides. This is up from 41.3 percent last year.
Newspaper coverage of companies and their products
An integral part of our audit is to look at the number of times a pharma company or one of its products is mentioned. We assess
which companies are attracting media attention, positive, neutral, or negative, and making the news. For example, if a company,
such as Pfizer, is mentioned twice and one of its products (e.g., Bextra), is mentioned once, then that would count as three
mentions for Pfizer. A higher number of mentions equates to the visibility a company is getting in a given year.
This year the 70 mentions for companies, by company name, were the highest since 2009 when there were 88. When considered
by the number of articles, this year's ratio of mentions per article is substantially higher. In 2012, there were 70 mentions
in 113 articles or about .6 mentions per article compared to .72 mentions per article in 2009. Additionally, this year there
were more large companies (13) identified by name than any previous year. Combined with the 32 other companies mentioned,
the total number of mentions was 45, the highest since 2009 when there were 88 mentions (Table 4).
Table 4: Company Mentions by Company Name
When the products from the companies mentioned by name are included, the total number of mentions increased significantly.
Fifty-three products were mentioned at least once, and 13 of the products were mentioned at least twice. Perdue Pharma's Oxycontin
and Genentech's Avastin had the highest number of mentions at six apiece. Both drugs continue to attract negative coverage,
Oxycontin due to its street value link to addiction and Avastin due to its potential side effects, e.g. serious bleeding and
gastrointestinal perforation. Pfizer has the most products mentioned. One of Pfizer's generic products, Levongestrel, had
five mentions due to potential side effects associated with this birth control medication.