This book contains the third series of Winter Lectures organised by the Office of Health Economics, and the first to be given after the publication of the ‘Sainsbury Report’. Mr Freeman in his foreword to the volume containing the second series wrote: ‘Not unnaturally some of the papers are concerned to justify the policies and practices of the principal firms in the industry.’

However, in the earlier volumes there was evidence to suggest that the Office of Health Economics was concerned to have the pricing policies and other behaviour of the pharmaceutical industry critically explored. Readers who are properly sceptical about the motives and inhibitions of a body sponsored by the industry will find in the paper in this volume by the Director of the Office further evidence of such open-mindedness, and in some of the other papers further evidence of a critical approach . The industry appears to be shifting away from a defensive posture to one based on recognition that there is a problem and that some means of meeting the public interest must be found. At the same time the public and the Government have probably come to accept that the crude view o of an industry exploiting the sick and pillaging the public purse misses many of the special features of pharmaceuticals and offers no firm basis for policy-making.