Pharmacy World and Science

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 273–277 | Cite as

Pharmaceutical Policy and the Lay Public*

  • Janine M. TraulsenEmail author
  • Anna Birna Almarsdóttir


Almost every national and supranational health policy document accords high importance to the need to listen to and ‘empower’ patients. The relationship between pharmaceutical policy and the lay public is not direct but mediated by several actors, including health care workers, patient organisations, industry and, most recently, the media. Although the overall aim of health and pharmaceutical policy is to address the needs of all citizens, there are only a few, well organised groups who are actually consulted and involved in the policymaking process, often with the support of the industry. The reasons for this lack of citizen involvement in health and pharmaceutical policymaking are many, for example: there is no consensus about what public involvement means; there is a predominance of special interest groups with narrow, specific agendas; not all decision makers welcome lay participation; patients and professionals have different rationalities with regard to their views on medicine. Because the lay public and medicine users are not one entity, one of the many challenges facing policy makers today is to identify, incorporate and prioritise the many diverse needs. The authors recommend research which includes studies that look at: lay attitudes towards pharmaceutical policy; lay experiences of drug therapy and how it affects their daily lives; the problem of identifying lay representatives; the relationship between industry and the consumers; the effect of the media on medicine users and on pharmaceutical policy itself. The authors acknowledge that although lay involvement in policy is still in its infancy, some patient organisations have been successful and there are developments towards increased lay involvement in pharmaceutical policymaking.

Key words

Health care Pharmaceutical Industry Pharmacy Lay public Media Patient groups Pharmaceutical policy Policy making 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janine M. Traulsen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anna Birna Almarsdóttir
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Social PharmacyThe Danish University of Pharmaceutical SciencesCopenhagen ØDenmark
  2. 2.Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of IcelandIceland
  3. 3.Department of Public HealthUniversity of Reykjavík, HagiReykjavíkIceland

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