The Commercial Determinants of Health and Evidence Synthesis (CODES): methodological guidance for systematic reviews

Session Type
Special Session

The field of the Commercial Determinants of Health (CDOH) is growing rapidly, as evidenced by a new WHO programme on CDOH and increased researcher and funder interest. Evidence synthesis will be a crucial tool in the evolution of CDOH. While CDOH reviews can draw on existing methodological guidance, there are areas where the methods will differ, and there is no overarching guidance on the conduct of CDOH-focussed systematic reviews, nor on the specific methodological and conceptual challenges.

CODES provides guidance on CDOH-focussed SRs, from shaping the review question, through to disseminating the review. Existing methods guidance was used to identify key stages and provide a structure for the CODES guidance. The main objective of the session is to (i) present the guidance and initiate a discussion on its potential use and value to reviewers working in the field of CDOH, and (ii) to identify next steps for the development and implementation of CODES guidance.

The session will be primarily focussed on discussion of the main steps of the CODES guidance: on the face validity of the guidance, on its likely acceptability to reviewers and how this can be enhanced. It will start with a short presentation on CDOH, and then a short structured exercise to identify participants’ views of where CDOH-related biases may enter the review process. The findings of this exercise will be reflected against the current version of the CODES guidance, to identify key topics for further discussion. The session will end with a short session on equity considerations and how these might be incorporated into CODES.

This presentation will highlight the special methodological and other considerations for CDOH reviews, including equity considerations, and provide pointers to areas for future methodological and guideline development. More generally, CODES will contribute to the reliability and utility of CDOH reviews (thus contributing to the Colloquium theme of “ Producing Trusted Evidence) and will help stimulate the production of reviews which are less affected by commercial biases, and more likely to improve the health and wellbeing of patients and the wider public. A member of the public will help design the session.

Target audience: Review authors

Format: Discussion

Speakers: Mark Petticrew, Rebecca Glover