Pharmaceutical companies giving

We invite you to look into each of these areas of possible funding. Pharmaceutical companies (as well as device manufacturers) quite often are interested in giving to Patient Organisations, and as we are concerned with International Patient Groups here, we have tried to focus on those websites that focus on the same (ie, NOT local or national pharmaceutical sites, but the global or European ones). Some of these sites will direct you to the US site of a giver. Even in those cases, it is worth taking a look and reading through the instructions and possibilities of applying for funding from these companies.

NOTE: Often, though not always, companies offer “unrestricted” grants – that is, grants you can use as your group sees fit. The accompanying moneys are not tied to specific projects or results, simply to your organisation. I consider this the most desirable funding, in that it does not give the impression that the funder is directing the work or that the fundee is simply doing what the company decides should be done. That much being said, there may be some grants offered that indeed are related to specific projects that are already underway by the patient group or that intrinsically are of interest to them. In this case, there is no problem getting funding from a company (especially if it can be matched by other donations), but read the Grant rules carefully and follow them carefully. GOOD LUCK!

NOTE2: As of 2011, more and more funding is offered via an online system. It is usually not worth trying to bend the rules and call the company etc because these online systems have been set up to offer a transparent and fair way of judging all the proposals that arrive in an even-handed way. Quite often, trying to circumvent these rules can be more of a handicap than a help.

Relationships between the pharmaceutical industry and patients’ organisations

Andrew Herxheimer, emeritus fellow, UK Cochrane Centre

9 Park Crescent, London N3 2NL ; Email:,

BMJ. 2003 May 31; 326(7400): 1208–1210.

doi:  10.1136/bmj.326.7400.1208

PMCID: PMC1126060

Copyright © 2003, BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.

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