Relationships between the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry are a key area of controversy in today’s healthcare. While it is commonly recognised that collaboration between the two groups is vital for advancing drug innovation and treatment, doctors’ overly close, “unhealthy” dealings with the industry may bias their clinical decisions, research and advice to public authorities.
However, disclosing and managing these relationships remains a significant challenge, raising a number of policy dilemmas. This project takes up, therefore, two fundamental questions: What is the overall pattern of medical-industry financial ties? What is the nature, strengths and weaknesses of recent initiatives said to considerably enhance the transparency in medical-industry relations?
This project will use Social Networks Analysis and other statistical methods to provide unprecedented insight into previously unrealised large-scale patterns of medical-industry ties based on newly released data on pharmaceutical company payments to healthcare professionals and organisations. We will also investigate the development and implementation of novel payment disclosure policies by combing analysis of stakeholder interviews, policy documents and survey data.
The project compares medical-industry financial ties and their disclosure across the EU and in particular in four countries with varying healthcare systems — Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain and Poland.
The project findings will benefit scholars in medical sociology, policy studies and public heath. We will present work in progress at national and international conferences, listed in the Work Plan section. We will publish at least 5 open access articles in top quartile journals.
The research will benefit policymakers, civil servants, expert advisors, medical professionals’ organisations, the pharmaceutical industry, patient advocacy groups, transparency watchdogs and think tanks at the national and EU levels. The benefits will include enhanced understanding of medical-industry relationships and ways of optimising their governance.