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Call for Papers | Journal of Public Policy & Marketing: Pharmaceuticals, Marketing, and Society

Matthew Sarkees, M. Paula Fitzgerald and Cait Lamberton


Toward a Better Understanding of the Successes, Challenges, and Opportunities of a Dynamic Industry

The Journal of Public Policy & Marketing is soliciting manuscripts on pharmaceutical issues that impact marketing and public policy.

Pharmaceuticals improve citizens’ lives, are an exemplar of innovation, and provide an interesting laboratory to study sales, strategy, B2B marketing, channels of distribution, and consumers’ love/hate relationship with a critical industry. The industry also is an important laboratory for developing and testing critical theory and practical application relevant to a host of marketing researchers.

Global pharmaceutical spending on medicines spending will increase to $1.5 trillion by 2023 (IQVIA 2019). Almost four billion prescriptions were filled in the U.S. alone in 2018 (Kaiser Family Foundation 2019). In recent years, the number of physician visits in the U.S. has approached one billion (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2017). Pharmaceutical companies and regulators find themselves in the media limelight for a variety of positive and negative reasons. Digital marketing, social media and big data growth are placing pharmaceutical firms and consumers in uncharted marketing waters. Regulators are working to keep up as they too face new challenges in the industry’s marketing, sale and communication of pharmaceuticals to the public. Nonprofits, governmental agencies, and for-profit health care systems are challenged to use pharmaceuticals to provide relief from sickness and disease, while simultaneously minimizing unintended consequences (such as addiction or misuse) of these products.

Fundamentally, an understanding of pharmaceuticals continues to be of interest to stakeholders around the world. Marketing and public policy professionals and researchers appear to have just as many questions as answers. Thus, this special issue seeks fill this gap with innovative, thoughtful discussions of the key issues of pharmaceuticals in the context of marketing and public policy.

Manuscripts in this area might include, but are not restricted to, topics such as:

  • Consumer pharmaceutical literacy/knowledge
  • Underserved and vulnerable populations’ access to and use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs
  • Impact of proposed policies regarding pricing of pharmaceuticals
  • The opioid crisis and addiction
  • Health care provider–patient relationships before, during, and/or after prescribing and use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs
  • The relationships between pharmaceutical firms with health care providers and institutions
  • Medical insurance, reimbursements, and other related issues as consumer access and pay for pharmaceutical products
  • Challenges in provider prescribing and constituent use of pharmaceutical products faced by government agencies such as the Veterans Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or Food and Drug Administration
  • Strategies and policies implemented by pharmaceutical firms
  • Counterfeit drugs
  • Off-label prescribing
  • Market for imported pharmaceuticals and travel across international borders to access legal drugs
  • New trends in drugs/medicines as they impact marketing and consumers
  • Marketing of innovative health care solutions in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries
  • How patients experience the consumer journey when accessing and using pharmaceuticals
  • Pharmaceutical sales or distribution issues
  • Cultural issues in legal prescription and over-the-counter drug markets, including cross-cultural issues regarding the effectiveness and efficiency regarding how this segment of health care is approached across different countries
  • Normative and prescriptive examination of self-regulation by firms and industry groups in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Potential deceptiveness in promotion and advertising of prescription and nonprescription drugs and how it affects consumer perceptions, attitudes and choice behaviors
  • Anti-vaccination movement

For this special issue, we encourage work from diverse perspectives: empirical or conceptual, organizational or individual-level, qualitative or quantitative. International perspectives are welcome.

All submissions must clearly focus on marketing issues (broadly defined). Additionally, all submissions must directly deal with policy—within a firm, within an industry, with nonprofit organizations. and/or federal, state, and local policy.

Manuscripts that advocate for a political perspective either for or against pharmaceuticals shall not be considered; rather, submissions should contribute to marketing and public policy by examining these issues through an unbiased lens.

Pharmaceuticals, Marketing, and Society Workshop

A workshop is being planned for March 29–31, 2020 at Villanova University. The workshop will bring together interested researchers in a collaborative environment to discuss issues related to the special issue topics. Attendees will hear from industry executives, regulators, marketing thought leaders, and other key stakeholders in an intimate, interactive format. Attendees who present/participate in the workshop have no greater likelihood of acceptance to the special issue than nonattendees. Additionally, attendance is not required for submitting to the special issue. More information on registration and workshop format is forthcoming.

Submission Requirements and Information

Inquiries can be directed to the special issue coeditors:

Submissions should follow the manuscript format guidelines for the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found at:


All manuscripts should be submitted through the JPP&M online submission system at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ama_jppm.

The submission window for manuscripts is November 15, 2020–January 15, 2021

Matthew Sarkees is Chair, Associate Professor, Marketing & Business Law, Villanova University School of Business.

Paula Fitzgerald is the Nathan Haddad Professor of Business Administration at West Virginia University.

Cait Lamberton is Alberto I. Duran President's Distinguished Professor or Marketing, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.