Publication Details

Beder, S, Gosden, R and Mosher, LR, Pig Pharma: Psychiatric Agenda Setting by Drug Companies, in Prosky, PS and Keith, DV (eds), Family Therapy as an Alternative to Medication: An Appraisal of Pharmland, Brunner-Routledge, New York, 2003, 193-208. Copyright Taylor & Francis. Original book available here.


The development of political agenda-setting through the use of sophisticated public relations techniques is threatening to undermine the delicate balance of representative democracy. This has important ramifications for policies aimed at providing mental health services and the implementation of mental health laws. The principal agenda setters in this area are pharmaceutical companies with commercial reasons to promote public policies that expand the sales of their products. They have manufactured highly effective advocacy coalitions that incorporate front groups in order to set the policy agenda for mental health. However, policies tailored to their commercial purpose are not necessarily beneficial either for patients or the society at large.