Lobbying and influence activities in the Pharmaceutical and Food and Beverage industries

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Social and Policy Sciences


My research will explore modes and channels of influence used by the pharmaceutical ("pharma") and food and beverage (F&B) industries in the UK, in particular mapping how the two industries align and differ in their attempts to influence policy-making. The two industries have major economic and public health implications and their governance involves many stakeholders and complex scientific evidence. The industries also have major implications for public and individual health and budgets. I aim to map each industry's approach to lobbying and influencing policy-making. I will also look specifically at the policy role and impact of so-called third-party organisations (such as healthcare organisations and advocacy organisations) in the context of the pharma and F&B industries in the UK. The nature of third-party organisations' expertise, attempts to influence society through policy, and relationships with other stakeholders will be key considerations.

Focusing on the pharma and F&B policy fields this project will explore four research questions:

1) What tactics do the pharma and F&B industries deploy to influence policy-making?
2) To what extent does third-party organisations' activity align with pharma and F&B industry agendas?
3) How do the two industries align and differ in their attempts to influence policy-making?
4) How powerful are the two industries in the UK?

The project will draw on the power structure research tradition examining organisational networks and associated ideologies. It will use an innovative mixed-methods design, combining "big data" and case-studies, and triangulating methods and data sources.

My research will have an academic impact through demonstrating the use of innovative methods, as well as transcending to non-academic beneficiaries including decision-makers (through casting light on the influence and mechanisms behind third-party organisation policy recommendations, unravelling the process to reveal the extent to which we can trust the outcomes) and the general public (as policymaking decisions have a direct impact on society, particularly in the domain of public health).


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000630/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2097141 Studentship ES/P000630/1 01/10/2018 30/12/2021 Emily Jane Rickard