Drug resource allocation decisions have a very real and direct impact on the public, due to cost and availability constraints resulting from these decisions. This presents an opportunity for public opinion to play an important role in influencing decisions that have far-reaching effects. Public opinion regarding pharmaceutical issues is influenced by drug companies, special interest groups, researchers and others. Since these groups often have conflicting goals, they may send contradictory messages to the public. In this article, we examine the issues of who comprises the public, how public opinion is influenced and what impact public opinion does and should have on drug resource allocation decisions. We emphasise that, for appropriate resource allocation decisions to be made, there is a continuing need to conduct high quality outcomes research and to continue the trend of increasing interest in how drugs are used rather than how much is sold or how much they cost. There is also a major role for pharmacoeconomic research to play in this issue, with a real need to make such research accessible and understandable by the public, including patients, physicians, pharmacists and policy makers, so that policy decisions can be based on such research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health