The health industry is often criticized for being too segmented to work together efficiently. Public opinion on the largest healthcare companies in America is also split, with approval ratings among major drug stores, insurance companies, drug distributors and pharmaceutical companies varying widely across sub-industries.
Morning Consult polling found consumers had significantly higher approval ratings of of brick-and mortar-drugstores when compared to insurance companies and little-known-but-massive drug distributor firms like McKesson, AmeriSource Bergen, and Cardinal Health. The poll was conducted from October 19-20, 2014, among a national sample of 1,016 registered voters. All health companies that made the Fortune 50 list were included in the poll: AmerisourceBergen, CVS Caremark, Cardinal Health, Johnson and Johnson, McKesson, Express Scripts, United Health Group, Walgreens and Wellpoint.
Among drugstores, registered approval of Walgreens was 12-point higher that approval ratings for CVS Caremark. Seventy-nine percent of registered voters had a favorable view of Walgreens, while 67 percent had a favorable view of CVS. However, 11 percent of voters had an unfavorable view of Walgreens while only eight percent said they didn’t like CVS. Nine percent of respondents said they had never heard of CVS, while no voters said they had never heard of Walgreens.
The two health insurance companies included in our poll, WellPoint and UnitedHealth Group, varied widely in approval ratings and voter knowledge of the brand. Forty-seven percent of voters said they had never heard of WellPoint, while 13 percent of voters said they had never heard of UnitedHealth Group. Overall, 49 percent of registered voters had a favorable view of UnitedHealth Group while 24 percent had a favorable view of WellPoint. But that difference is largely made up by people not knowing WellPoint — UnitedHealth Group was disliked more, with 13 percent of voters saying they had an unfavorable view of the company. Eight percent of voters had an unfavorable view of WellPoint.
Major drug distribution companies and pharmacy benefit managers (without drug stores) did not have high consumer knowledge rates. For three of the four companies, more than half of respondents said they had not heard of them. For AmerisourceBergen, 67 percent of voters said they had never heard of the company. For Cardinal Health, 55 percent of voters said they had never of the company while when it came to McKesson, 54 percent of voters said they had never heard of them. Twenty two percent of voters said they had a favorable view of Cardinal Health while 19 percent said they had a favorable view of McKesson. Fourteen percent of voters said they liked AmerisourceBergen. Nineteen percent of respondents said they had heard of Express Scripts but didn’t have an opinion.
Johnson & Johnson was the overall leader in the health industry among firms polled. All voters saying they had heard of the major consumer-facing company, and 83 percent of voters said the approved of the firm. That approval rating is notable following multiple Johnson and Johnson drug recalls in the past five years.