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BMJ Open. 2016 Apr 18;6(4):e009342. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009342.

Support of public-private partnerships in health promotion and conflicts of interest.

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Departamento de Salud Pública y Ciberesp, Universidad Miguel Hernández, San Juan de Alicante, Spain.
Consultant in Public Health, Madrid, Spain.



Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are considered key elements in the development of effective health promotion. However, there is little research to back the enthusiasm for these partnerships. Our objective was to describe the diversity of visions on PPPs and to assess the links between the authors and corporations engaged in such ventures.


We reviewed the scientific literature through PubMed in order to select all articles that expressed a position or recommendation on governments and industries engaging in PPPs for health promotion. We included any opinion paper that considered agreements between governments and corporations to develop health promotion. Papers that dealt with healthcare provision or clinical preventive services and those related to tobacco industries were excluded. We classified the articles according to the authors' position regarding PPPs: strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree and strongly disagree. We related the type of recommendation to authors' features such as institution and conflicts of interest. We also recorded whether the recommendations were based on previous assessments.


Of 46 papers analysed, 21 articles (45.6%) stated that PPPs are helpful in promoting health, 1 was neutral and 24 (52.1%) were against such collaborations. 26 papers (57%) set out conditions to assure positive outcomes of the partnerships. Evidence for or against PPPs was mentioned in 11 papers that were critical or neutral (44%) but not in any of those that advocated collaboration. Where conflicts were declared (26 papers), absence of conflicts was more frequent in critics than in supporters (86% vs 17%).


Although there is a lack of evidence to support PPPs for health promotion, many authors endorse this approach. The prevalence of ideas encouraging PPPs can affect the intellectual environment and influence policy decisions. Public health researchers and professionals must make a contribution in properly framing the PPP issue.


EDUCATION & TRAINING (see Medical Education & Training); ETHICS (see Medical Ethics); PUBLIC HEALTH

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