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Policymaking in the pharmaceutical sector plays a pivotal role in achieving the health systems' goals. Transparency in the pharmaceutical policy could increase confidence in decision-making processes. This study aims to assess transparency in the public pharmaceutical sector of Iran. This qualitative study with a content analysis approach was conducted in 2017 using the World Health Organization tool to explore pharmaceutical transparency. The perceptions of the various stakeholders of the health system through semi-structured interviews with a maximum variation of stakeholders were obtained in eight functions, including registration, licensing, inspection, promotion, clinical trials, selection, procurement, and distribution of medicines. There are some problems in two main categories: (1) General problems, including lack of transparency, conflict of interest, centralization, and monopoly. (2) Ethical problems include illegal payments, gifts, bribes, conflicts of interest, hidden power, hoarding, relationship-oriented behavior, medicine trafficking, and counterfeit medicine. Suggested solutions include evidence-based decision-making, the use of transparent and accountable processes, standardization, needs assessment, declaring a conflict of interest, skilled human resources, and tracking prescription. Despite the development of effective pharmaceutical policy in the health care system and government interventions for the control of the market, in some functions, reviewing the pharmaceutical policy is essential. Additionally, declaring a conflict of interest statement must be at the core of policy development to provide greater transparency. © 2021. The Author(s).


Atefeh Esfandiari, Vahid Yazdi-Feyzabadi, Leila Zarei, Arash Rashidian, Hedayat Salari. Transparency in public pharmaceutical sector: the key informants' perceptions from a developing country. BMC health services research. 2021 Dec 07;21(1):1316

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PMID: 34876113

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