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Changing Policy Focus through Organisational Reform? The case of the pharmaceutical unit in the European Commission


  • Nina Merethe Vestlund


This article demonstrates how organisational structure may systematically tip the scales in the direction of certain actors, solutions, interests and concerns in a decision process. The article reports from a case study of an organisational reform in the European Commission, i.e., the move of the pharmaceutical unit from DG Enterprise to DG SANCO in 2010. To what extent, how and why did the reorganisation of the pharmaceutical policy field affect decision behaviour within the pharmaceutical unit? The empirical findings show that balancing contact, interests and concerns are important to the officials in the unit, independent of DG affiliation. At the same time, however, they tend to favour actors, solutions, interests and concerns pertaining to their own DG and sector. Hence, after the reform priorities changed: public health actors partly replaced industry actors in the unit’s network, and public health interests and concerns replaced pharmaceutical industry and business interests and concerns.

Suggested Citation

  • Nina Merethe Vestlund, 2012. "Changing Policy Focus through Organisational Reform? The case of the pharmaceutical unit in the European Commission," ARENA Working Papers p0315, ARENA.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:arenax:p0315

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