Policy formulation

Governments are responsible for ensuring that health professionals are qualified and licensed and that health products, services and drugs are safe and effective.[1] At the policy stage, undue influence by interest groups can affect the design of health policies to the benefit of a particular societal group – usually the rich and the powerful – at the expense of others. For example, priority can be given to tertiary hospitals using costly equipment to the detriment of smaller primary care clinics that are left with inadequate staffing and equipment.

An area of particular concern at the regulatory level in the health sector is the registration and approval process of new drugs and the establishment of national lists of essential medicines.[2] The uneasy relationship between pharmaceutical companies, governments and health professionals, exacerbated by dubious lobbying and marketing practices make this process particularly vulnerable to capture by private interests. In many countries, including developed countries, pharmaceutical companies lobby and bribe government officials to favour their companies or have their drugs approved by the national drug monitoring agency.


  • [1]

    UNDP. 2011. Fighting Corruption in the Health Sector: Tools, Methods and Good Practices.

  • [2]

    Essential medicines are selected by countries to satisfy the priority healthcare needs of the population. They are intended to be available at all times, in adequate amounts, in appropriate dosage forms, with assured quality and adequate information, and at affordable prices (WHO. 2015. Understanding the Role and Use of Essential Medicines Lists. http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/documents/s21980en/s21980en.pdf)


Iñaki Albisu Ardigó; Marie Chêne


Matthew Jenkins

Contributing experts:

Umrbek Allakulov (Water Integrity Network)

Shaazka Beyerle (US Institute of Peace)

Simone Bloem (Center for Applied Policy)

Claire Grandadam (Water Integrity Network)

Jacques Hallak (Jules Verne University – Amiens)

Mihaylo Milovanovitch (Centre For Applied Policy)

Muriel Poisson (International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP-UNESCO)

Juanita Riano (Inter-American Development Bank)

Marc Y. Tassé (Canadian Centre of Excellence for Anti-Corruption)

Vítězslav Titl (University of Siegen)

Davide Torsello (Central European University Business School)

Patty Zakaria (Royal Roads University)



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