Pharmaceutical lobbying and pandemic stockpiling of Tamiflu: a qualitative study of arguments and tactics

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Abstract

Background Little is known about how pharmaceutical companies lobby authorities or experts regarding procurement or the use of vaccines and antivirals. This paper investigates how members of Denmark's pandemic planning committee experienced lobbying efforts by Roche, manufacturer of Tamiflu, the antiviral that was stockpiled before the 2009 A(H1N1) pandemic. Methods Analysis of interviews with six of seven members of the Danish core pandemic committee, supplemented with documentary analysis. We sought to identify (1) arguments and (2) tactics used in lobbying, and to characterize interviewees' views on the impact of (3) lobbying and (4) scientific evidence on the decision to stockpile Tamiflu. Results Roche lobbied directly (in its own name) and through a seemingly independent third party. Roche used two arguments: (1) the procurement agreement had to be signed quickly because the drug would be delivered on a first-come, first-served basis and (2) Denmark was especially vulnerable to an influenza crisis because it had smaller Tamiflu stocks than other countries. Most interviewees suspected that lobbying had an impact on Tamiflu procurement. Conclusions Our study highlights risks posed by pharmaceutical lobbying. Arguments and tactics deployed by Roche are likely to be repeated whenever many countries are negotiating drug procurements in a monopolistic market.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)646–651
JournalJournal of Public Health
Volume40
Issue number3
Early online date2017 Aug 9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology
  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

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