The power and influence of the pharmaceutical industry has raised concerns among health professionals and the wider community and led to calls for increased regulation. Overwhelming evidence that advertising, contact with company representatives, gift giving, sponsorship of meetings and other forms of promotion influence prescribing behaviour, has drawn particular attention to drug promotion. In answer to these concerns a range of responses has developed, including rules set by government, processes for the review and management of research, industry codes of conduct, community responses, and guidelines generated by practitioner associations. The various forms of regulation taken together strike a delicate balance that aims to protect the interests of the community and individual patients, foster research and the development of new products, maintain public confidence in pharmaceuticals and medicine, and facilitate ethical decision making among the various participants. Although guidelines for health professionals provide some advice, they cannot cover all situations where conflicts and dualities may arise in practice.
- Drug promotion
- Drug regulation