Characteristics and Distribution of Scholarship Donations From Pharmaceutical Companies to Japanese Healthcare Institutions in 2017: A Cross-sectional Analysis

Anju Murayama, Sae Kamamoto, Hiroaki Saito, Erika Yamashita, Yosuke Suzuki, Tetsuya Tanimoto, Piotr Ozieranski, Akihiko Ozaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)

Abstract

Background: Financial relationships between healthcare institutions and pharmaceutical companies can lead to conflicts of interest (COIs), potentially compromising patients’ care. In Japan, scholarship donations, unique type of payments made to healthcare institutions and their subunits by pharmaceutical industries without restricting their use including non-educational or research purpose, may often have implicit promotional purposes. However, detailed information about these payments remains scarce. Methods: This study employed a cross-sectional design to analyse the extent and distribution of all scholarship donations made by all 73 pharmaceutical companies belonging to the Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (JPMA) to healthcare institutions in 2017. Data were obtained from publicly available sources from the companies, and the total number of payments, their distributions across various institutions and specialties were analysed. Results: A total of 27 007 payment contracts amounting to $178 703 721 in scholarship donations were made to 4839 specific departments and laboratories at 251 different institutions by 67 pharmaceutical companies. National universities received 50.8% of total payments. All universities setting medical school in Japan received one or more payments. Domestic pharmaceutical companies contributed to $137 797 302 (77.1%) in total. Clinical medicine departments received 89.6% ($160 113 147) with 6.2% ($11 011 946) and 2.0% ($3 600 456) allocated to basic medicine and social medicine specialties, respectively. Conclusion: This study provided a comprehensive overview of scholarship donations from pharmaceutical companies to healthcare institutions in Japan, revealing significant financial support primarily directed to national universities and clinical medicine departments. Japanese policy-makers should consider implementing regulations that promote transparency and mitigate potential COIs arising from scholarship donations, which may be useful in other countries with similar schemes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7621
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Health Policy and Management
Volume12
Issue number1
Early online date21 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded in part by the Medical Governance Research Institute. This non-profit enterprise receives donations from pharmaceutical companies, including a dispensing pharmacy, namely Ain Pharmacies, Inc., other organizations, and private individuals. This study also received support from Tansa, an independent non-profit news organization dedicated to investigative journalism. The authors also thank Kayo Harada for her dedicated work in obtaining the data. However, none of the entities providing financial support for this study contributed to the design, execution, data analyses, or interpretation of study findings and the drafting of this manuscript.

Funding Information:
This study was funded in part by the Medical Governance Research Institute. This non-profit enterprise receives donations from pharmaceutical companies, including a dispensing pharmacy, namely Ain Pharmacies, Inc., other organizations, and private individuals. This study also received support from Tansa, an independent non-profit news organization dedicated to investigative journalism. However, none of the entities providing financial support for this study contributed to the design, execution, data analyses, or interpretation of study findings and the drafting of this manuscript.

Keywords

  • Health Policy
  • Institutional Conflicts of Interest
  • Japan
  • Non-research Payment
  • Pharmaceutical Payment
  • Transparency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health Information Management

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