WHO Health Systems Library
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Drug Promotion - What We Know, What We Have Yet to Learn - Reviews of Materials in the WHO/HAI Database on Drug Promotion - EDM Research Series No. 032
(102 pages)

Table of Contents
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentExecutive summary
close this folderIntroduction
View the documentBackground to the project
View the documentDevelopment of the drug promotion database
View the documentDatabase entries
View the documentPotential data users
View the documentReviews of database material
View the documentMethodology
Open this folder and view contentsReview 1. What attitudes do professional and lay people have to promotion?
Open this folder and view contentsReview 2. What impact does pharmaceutical promotion have on attitudes and knowledge?
Open this folder and view contentsReview 3. What impact does pharmaceutical promotion have on behaviour?
Open this folder and view contentsReview 4. What interventions have been tried to counter promotional activities, and with what results?
View the documentFinal conclusions
View the documentReferences

Potential data users

Health professionals

Doctors, pharmacists and other health care workers will be able to see what promotional techniques the pharmaceutical industry uses, and how promotion influences the choice of drugs and the appropriateness of prescribing.

Health professional associations

These groups can use the database to see what guidelines other groups have adopted for interaction between health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry to help them formulate policies.

Governments and other regulatory bodies

The database will enable regulators to see what methods have been tried to control promotion and their successes and failures.

Academic researchers

The database enables researchers to see which promotional issues have been investigated, the methodology others have used and what areas are priorities for further research. In addition, they can look at trends in promotion over a 30-year period.


The database will be a valuable source of information for those who teach medical and pharmacy students, nurses and other health science students about the influence of drug promotion.

Consumer organizations

These groups can use the database to help them lobby for effective control over pharmaceutical promotion and to help educate consumers and patients about the influence that promotion has over the choices that health professionals make. They can also use the material to become better acquainted with emerging issues.

Pharmaceutical industry

Pharmaceutical companies will be able to see what criticisms have been made about their promotion in order to help them develop better internal controls. The database will also help pharmaceutical industry associations to strengthen their voluntary codes.

Public and private sector payers, and providers of development aid.

These groups can see how promotion affects drug use and, therefore, drug costs.

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Last updated: May 4, 2012