Financial relationships between patient and consumer representatives and the health industry: A systematic review Journal Articles uri icon

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  • AbstractBackgroundPatients and consumers are increasingly engaged in health policymaking, research and drug regulation. Having financial relationships with the health industry creates situations of conflicts of interest (COI) and might compromise their meaningful and unbiased participation.ObjectiveTo synthesize available evidence on the financial relationships between the health industry and patient and consumer representatives and their organizations.MethodsWe systematically searched MEDLINE and EMBASE. We selected studies and abstracted data in duplicate and independently. We reported on outcomes related to financial relationships of individuals with, and/or funding of organizations by the health industry.ResultsWe identified a total of 14 510 unique citations, of which 24 reports of 23 studies were eligible. Three studies (13%) addressed the financial relationship of patient and consumer representatives with the health industry. Of these, two examined the proportion of public speakers in drug regulatory processes who have financial relationships; the proportions in the two studies were 25% and 19% respectively. Twenty studies (87%) addressed funding of patient and consumer organizations. The median proportion of organizations that reported funding from the health industry was 62% (IQR: 34%‐69%) in questionnaire surveys, and 75% (IQR: 58%‐85%) in surveys of their websites. Among organizations for which there was evidence of industry funding, a median proportion of 29% (IQR: 27%‐44%) acknowledged on their websites receiving that funding.ConclusionFinancial relationships between the health industry and patient and consumer representatives and their organizations are common and may not be disclosed. Stricter regulation on disclosure and management is needed.


  • Khabsa, Joanne
  • Semaan, Aline
  • El‐Harakeh, Amena
  • Khamis, Assem M
  • Obeid, Serena
  • Noureldine, Hussein A
  • Akl, Elie

publication date

  • April 2020