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Photo of Shai Mulinari. Private photo.

Shai Mulinari

Associate Professor | Senior Lecturer

Photo of Shai Mulinari. Private photo.

Pharmaceutical industry payments to NHS trusts in England : A four-year analysis of the Disclosure UK database


  • Piotr Ozieranski
  • Eszter Saghy
  • Shai Mulinari

Summary, in English

INTRODUCTION: Although hospitals are key health service providers, their financial ties to drug companies are little understood. We examine non-research pharmaceutical industry payments to English National Health Service (NHS) trusts-hospital groupings providing secondary and tertiary care.

METHODS: We extracted data from the industry-run Disclosure UK database, analysing it descriptively and using the Jonckheere-Terpstra test to establish whether a statistically significant time trend existed in the median values of individual payments. We explained payment value and number per trust with random effects models, using selected trust characteristics as predictors.

RESULTS: Drug companies reported paying £60,253,421 to 234 trusts, representing between 90.0% and 92.0% of all trusts in England between 2015 and 2018. As a share of payments to all healthcare organisations, the number of payments rose from 38.6% to 39.5%, but their value dropped from 33.0% to 23.6%. The number of payments for fees for service and consultancy and contributions to costs of events increased by 61.5% and 29.4%. The median payment value decreased significantly for trusts overall (from £2,250.8 to £1,758.5), including those with lower autonomy from central government; providing acute services; and from half of England's regions. The random effects model showed that acute trusts received significantly more money on average than trusts with all other service profiles; and trusts from East England received significantly less than those from London. However, trusts enjoying greater autonomy from government did not receive significantly more money than others. Trusts also received significantly less money in 2018 than in 2015.

CONCLUSION: NHS trusts had extensive pharmaceutical industry ties but were losing importance as payment targets relative to other healthcare organisations. Industry payment strategies shifted towards events sponsorship, consultancies, and smaller payments. Trusts with specific service and geographical profiles were prioritised. Understanding corporate payments across the health system requires more granular disclosure data.


  • Department of Sociology

Publishing year










Document type

Journal article


Public Library of Science (PLoS)


  • Sociology
  • Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy




  • Following the money: cross-national study of pharmaceutical industry payments to medical associations and patient organisations


  • ISSN: 1932-6203