Trust and Transparency

Consumer-pharmaceutical industry relationships

Trust and Transparency

Consumer-pharmaceutical industry relationships

Health consumer organisations have a history of building relationships and seeking funding from different sources to resource their work and the services they can offer their members. This includes, for consumer health organisations, partnerships with pharmaceutical companies.

Some consumer organisations are only able to operate with the support of pharmaceutical companies, while others have explicit policies of not accepting money from industry. Industry funding allows some groups to be able to offer additional services to their members, yet others have concerns that such partnerships impinge on their independence.

Health Consumers NSW partnered with the Evidence, Policy & Influence Collaborative at the Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney and Consumer Health Forum of Australia to host a workshop on 11 March 2020 to discuss the risks and benefits of partnering with the pharmaceutical industry.

Trust and Transparency Workshop Report front cover

The workshop

The workshop identified six key principles that should guide consumer organisation thinking about whether or how to engage with pharmaceutical industry funders:

1. Consumer centredness Making sure that your actions are in keeping with members’ views, expectations, and interests.
2. Honesty / Transparency Being open and upfront with your members about things that may matter to them (e.g. possibly including the organisation’s sources of funding, policies around industry funding).
3. Fairness Being mindful of the interests of all health consumers, including but not necessarily limited to members of your own organisation.
4. Independence Acting in accordance with your organisation’s own plans and priorities as per the interests of your members and the health consumer sector, without influence from third parties.
5. Values Alignment Being aware of the values, actions and health impact of potential funding organisations.
6. Governance / Accountability Accepting responsibility and having measures in place for the oversight of organisational actions to ensure they are in keeping with the organisation’s expressed ideals and practices.