18 June 2004: UK Parliamentary Health Committee announces



Health policy, research, prescribing practice and patient use

The pharmaceutical industry contributes substantially to the health of the nation and brings important benefits to the national economy. However, striking the right balance between health and commercial objectives presents major challenges to health policy makers and administrators, drug regulators and clinicians, as well as industry itself. How these sometimes conflicting objectives are perceived and resolved has profound consequences for consumers, patients and public health.

The Health Committee is to undertake an inquiry into the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on health policies, health outcomes and future health priorities and needs. The inquiry will focus, in particular, on the impact of the industry on:

drug innovation

the conduct of medical research

the provision of drug information and promotion

professional and patient education

regulatory review of drug safety and efficacy

product evaluation, including assessments of value for money

In doing so, the Committee will examine the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on the NHS; National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE); regulatory authorities and advisory and consultative bodies; prescribers, suppliers and providers of medicines; professional, academic and educational institutions; the (professional and lay) press and other media; and patients, consumers, the general public and representative bodies.


Organisations and individuals wishing to submit a short memorandum are invited to do so by Monday 16 August.  Late memoranda will only be accepted at the Committee's discretion, and may not be considered for publication. Evidence sessions are likely to commence in September 2004 and a further press notice will give details of these meetings.

A guide to preparing written evidence for the Health Committee can be found on the Committee's Press Notice page.. The Committee requests that evidence should be concise and in the form of a self-contained memorandum, prepared according to the format set out by the terms of reference given above and preferably submitted electronically to [email protected] .

Please note that the Health Committee is unable to investigate individual cases.

The Health Committee is a Select Committee of the House of Commons.  It is appointed under Standing Order No.152 to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department of Health and associated public bodies.  The Committee has the power to send for persons, papers and records.