GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer outperform Roche and Johnson & Johnson in corporate transparency study

In the study’s overall transparency rankings, Bayer was the highest ranked pharmaceutical company.

Bayer scores 75% for organisational transparency in Transparency International rank on the world's 124 largest publicly listed companies

Many of the world’s 124 largest publicly listed companies, including leading pharmaceutical manufacturers, disclose little or no financial details about their operations outside their parent country, a study on transparency and anti-corruption has found.

The companies, whose combined market value is more than US$14trillion, were ranked on their reporting of the measures they take to prevent corruption, information about subsidiaries and holdings, and key financial information about overseas operations.

Of the 124 companies reviewed, 90 did not disclose the taxes they pay in foreign countries and 54 did not disclose any information on their revenues in foreign countries, the report by Berlin-based Transparency International found[1]

For organisational transparency, the top score was posted by Italy’s oil giant ENI with a perfect 100%, while the overall average was 39%. In this segment, Bayer scored 75%, Merck & Co and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) each scored 50%, followed by Abbott Laboratories and Roche Holdings (38%), Gilead Sciences (25%), AstraZeneca and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (19%), and Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (13%).

On reporting of anti-corruption programmes, BP and Vodafone scored the maximum 100%, with an overall average of 70%. Among pharmaceutical companies, GSK scored 96%, followed by Pfizer (92%), AstraZeneca (88%), Teva (85%), Abbott (81%), Merck, Novartis and Sanofi (77% each), Johnson & Johnson (65%), Roche (62%) and Gilead (54%).

For country-by-country transparency of financial data, the top score of 66% was achieved by Norway’s Statoil. The overall average was 6% and for healthcare even lower at 2%. GSK fared best out of the pharmaceutical companies involved in the analysis, with a score of 11%. Abbott scored 3%, followed by Bayer and Novartis with a score of 1% each. Gilead, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer and Teva each scored zero.

In the overall transparency rankings, ENI was the top performer. Bayer was the highest ranked pharmaceutical company (18th), alongside GSK (19th). Roche and Johnson & Johnson were ranked the lowest (86th and 108th, respectively). 



[1] Transparency International. Transparency in Corporate Reporting: Assessing the World’s Largest Companies. Available from: (accessed on 5 November 2014).

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 22/29 November 2014, Vol 293, No 7837/8;293(7837/8):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2014.20067153

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