Pharmaceutical companies and Italian Regional Governments: Managing relationships in an increasing institutional complexity
In Italy, the process of power decentralization to Regional Governments has particularly affected pharmaceutical care policies. Regions are experimenting with various strategies to govern drugs utilization and expenditure, and differentiating their approaches, leading to an ever-changing and complex institutional scenario. Pharmaceutical companies have created new professional roles, the Regional Affairs Managers (RAM), with the mandate to monitor the different regional contexts and measures, and to establish relationships with the public actors in charge of pharmaceutical policies. This analysis shows how public affairs/lobbying actions at regional level and the creation of a solid political competence within companies are still in an early phase. The activities carried out by RAMs remain limited to an exchange of information and only rarely are perceived by Regional public servants (RRs) as giving support to their work or influence decisions. The interaction with RAMs is often seen as little relevant and still too concentrated on products and a marketing/commercial approach rather than on broader issues of interest to RRs who need to manage the pharmaceutical care system at large. The level of acceptance of this type of activity is also variable and RRs' attitudes alternate between diffidence, polite tolerance, and openness to a constructive dialogue about pharmaceuticals and their management in a regional healthcare system.
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