Document Type

Main Theme / Tema Central


Pharmaceutical companies are the largest industry contributor to political activities in the United States. Instead of pursuing traditional routes of political influence, these firms concentrate their efforts within federal public health agencies. By directly intervening in the regulatory process, Big Pharma assumes control of the drug approval process, dictating the means by which pharmaceutical products enter the marketplace. This scheme is designed to strip agencies of their public interest mandate. The resulting political phenomenon, known as regulatory capture, creates a symbiotic relationship where federal agencies and industry mutually benefit from the swift commercialization of drugs. This thesis examines "how" Big Pharma has successfully influenced government regulations in furtherance of their commercial agenda. By seizing control of the information channels which educate and guide public health agency decision making (e.g., drug research and approvals), the pharmaceutical industry engages in “self-regulation" of their own products. These actions carry a number of implications for patients, physicians, and regulators. In order to restore the public interest mandate of agencies, policy solutions must aim to isolate information channels from the control of industry, a task likely to encounter significant obstacles.



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