Using the Advocacy Coalition Framework to understand EU pharmaceutical policy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Models of interest group politics can help public health professionals (PHPs) to identify potential allies and establish mechanisms of sustainable political influence. This article focuses on a particular model, known as the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF), and its explanations of coalition behaviour, the role of scientific information and the ways in which coalitions can bring about policy change. The analysis illustrates the relevance of the ACF for public health by drawing on examples from the recent policy debate on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs (DTCA-PD) in the European Union (EU). It explores the strengths and weaknesses of the ACF in explaining why ‘control’ of particular governmental units was key to the anti-DTCA coalition success, how the evidence base was used strategically, and why the pro-DTCA coalition ultimately failed in bringing about major policy change. The article aims to equip PHPs with a tool which can be used to understand and engage with the policy process. Moreover, in offering a more nuanced view of this process, a case is made for moving beyond traditional, linear conceptions of the policy process and engaging in further research which uses political science concepts to inform the study and practice of public health. The article concludes with a set of recommendations for practitioners and researchers, emphasising the value of political science for the former and the need for the latter to reflect on the accessibility of policy studies for PHPs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-14
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Volume28
Issue numberSupplement 3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018

Keywords

  • health
  • European Union
  • pharmaceuticals
  • advocacy coalition
  • public health
  • politics
  • public health medicine
  • conception
  • evidence based practice
  • advocacy
  • direct to consumer advertising
  • pharmaceutical policy

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