Valeurs, repères éthiques et régulation des communications directes aux consommateurs des médicaments: Vers un consensus entre décideurs privés et décideurs politiques


Jean-Christophe Bélisle Pipon

Harvard University


Domaine : santé des populations

Programme : Formation postdoctorale

Concours 2017-2018


Unité SOUTIEN du Québec (Stratégie de recherche axée sur le patient)

Regulation of direct-to-consumer communications (DTCC) of pharmaceutical drugs is highly variable between countries, and there is no international organisation to advise governments on the matter or work towards harmonization and so ensure some consistency. Although visions may be very polarized between proponents and opponents, all agree that DTCC has a strong potential to influence consumers, and shape patients' treatments-seeking behaviours and interactions with their healthcare professionals. Yet, one of the main criticisms of current DTCC regulation is that it lags behind the practices of the industry. For example, the emergence of electronic DTCC (through social media and mobile applications) is largely ungoverned by national regulations. I argue that it is time to have a global conversation among DTCC initiators and regulators to find solutions that benefit patients (trustworthy information, transparency), while also being cognizant of the interests of regulators (public health) and industry (profitability). Opposing visions of how to regulate DTCC provide an opportunity for discussions between international stakeholders to better understand the sources of their disagreements and the rationale for current regulations. T

he aim of this project is to initiate an open discussion, involving both policy-makers and industry representatives, to assess current regulations, anticipate changing DTCC practices and seek effective means to better regulate DTCC. The project will be divided into three phases: 1) a comparative review of national regulations; 2) a Delphi survey of private and public decision-makers in order to build an international consensus on how to better regulate DTCC; and 3) an evidence-based agenda setting for regulatory changes and to promote cooperation for better oversight of DTCC. Addressing DTCC regulatory concerns is increasingly recognized as crucial, and this study will provide important information and ethical guidance for public and private sector decision-makers about how to regulate DTCC in an efficient and adaptive fashion.