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Legal and Ethical Guidelines

BHBIA Legal and Ethical Guidelines for Healthcare Market Research: Your essential guide

You can now download the revised September 2017 Guidelines, produced by the BHBIA's Ethics & Compliance Committee.

NEW GDPR-ready market research pro formas - May 2018 - market research pro formas (updated versions of the forms from the appendix section of the Legal and Ethical Guidelines) are now available in word format for ease of use (these are designed to help members until the full GDPR-ready version of the Guidelines is published) - download the pro formas

The annual update of the Guidelines takes place in September each year, meaning that the Guidelines are always fully up to date at the time when most people are renewing their online training and competency certification (certificates can be renewed any time from 1st September, prior to their expiry on 31st October).

Key changes (Sept 2017) include:

  • Additional guidance and examples on the scope of the guidelines – to make it clear that the guidelines apply across the spectrum of business intelligence methodologies and project types;
  • New guidance on dealing with over-recruitment of respondents – to ensure that respondents are fully informed, appropriately reimbursed and treated with care and respect;
  • Additional guidance on transferring personal data - clarifying that this cannot be done without consent or other legal grounds;
  • Additional guidance on paying incentives and reimbursing respondents’ costs – to increase transparency by requiring incentives and any associated costs to be specified clearly and separately from other costs such as travel;
  • Revised guidance on disguised promotion, to reflect ABPI requirements - MR material should be examined to ensure that it does not contravene the ABPI Code of Practice.
  • UPDATE - Revised guidance on review of MR materials - a change was made in October 2017. The new guidance (section E5.4) provides more flexibility. The Sept 2017 edition of the Guidelines has been updated with this additional revision.

These and all other changes to the Guidelines made since the previous version are marked with colour-coded arrows to indicate whether they are additions, revisions or deletions and an appendix at the end gives full details of the changes.

The guidelines include everything you need, in one place, to keep your market research project running smoothly from a legal and ethical point of view - saving you time and money.

  • Legal do’s and don’ts
  • Data protection unravelled
  • Best practice recommendations
  • Step-by-step through a project
  • Terms made easy
  • Ready-to-use forms

Download the September 2017 Guidelines now - This document replaces all previous versions.

  • guidelines 2017

The Guidelines are very important to BHBIA members and as well as making sure that the Guidelines are comprehensive and up to date, the aim is to make them as accessible – and therefore easy to follow - as possible. 

We hope you’ll find them helpful, whether you’re new to market research or have years of experience, and whether you’re one of our members or not. And it would be great if you’d let us know what you think by contacting us with your feedback

(If you have a query about the guidelines - or any legal or ethical query about UK healthcare market research that's not answered in the guidelines - please use the guidelines Request Advice form - full BHBIA members only)

What about AE reporting?

This is covered separately within the specific ABPI/BHBIA Guidance notes on the collection of adverse events and product complaints from market research programmes. We cross reference the ABPI document in the Guidelines rather than repeating information from it.

What about Secondary Data?

See our new series of Guidelines for the Use of Secondary Data

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