The impact of patient advocacy: the case of innovative breast cancer drug reimbursement


Nahuis, Roel and Boon, Wouter P.C. (2011) The impact of patient advocacy: the case of innovative breast cancer drug reimbursement. Sociology of Health & Illness, 33 (1). pp. 1-15. ISSN 0141-9889

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Abstract:Current research into patient advocacy focuses on attempts of patient groups to mobilise resources and to influence researchers, pharmaceutical companies and policy-makers. This paper adopts a ‘framing political opportunities’ approach to draw attention to other kinds of advocacy strategies. In a case study of breast cancer patient advocacy of Herceptin reimbursement, it is shown how patient groups tried to gain access to policy-making by means of three different opportunity-framing strategies. Articulation aims at creating awareness through public-agenda building. Negotiation aims at frame alignment between interdependent stakeholders by arranging meetings. Politicisation is a strategy to influence the agendas of political arenas. Patient organisations succeeded in creating awareness and support, which had a considerable impact on other stakeholders. These impacts in turn aided the politicisation of the issue. However, the final impact on reimbursement procedures was only partially achieved due to depoliticising counterstrategies based on persistent ideas buttressing a particular division of responsibilities in the organisation of healthcare. According to these ideas cost control in healthcare is a medical responsibility, not a political one.
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Copyright:© 2011 Wiley
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