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Open Access Open Badges Debate

Models for financing the regulation of pharmaceutical promotion

Joel Lexchin

Author Affiliations

School of Health Policy and Management, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON, M3J 1P3, Canada

Emergency Physician, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON, M3J 1P3, Canada

Globalization and Health 2012, 8:24  doi:10.1186/1744-8603-8-24

Published: 11 July 2012


Pharmaceutical companies spend huge sums promoting their products whereas regulation of promotional activities is typically underfinanced. Any option for financing the monitoring and regulation of promotion should adhere to three basic principles: stability, predictability and lack of (perverse) ties between the level of financing and performance. This paper explores the strengths and weaknesses of six different models. All these six models considered here have positive and negative features and none may necessarily be ideal in any particular country. Different countries may choose to utilize a combination of two or more of these models in order to raise sufficient revenue. Financing of regulation of drug promotion should more than pay for itself through the prevention of unnecessary drug costs and the avoidance of adverse health effects due to inappropriate prescribing. However, it involves an initial outlay of money that is currently not being spent and many national governments, in both rich and poor countries, are unwilling to incur extra costs.

Financing; Medications; Principles; Promotion; Regulation