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
Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction
close this folderReview 1. What attitudes do professional and lay people have to promotion?
View the document1.1 Attitudes do not necessarily match behaviour
View the document1.2 Studies of the prevalence of different attitudes to promotion (excluding direct-to-consumer advertising)
View the document1.3 Do trainers and trainees think that sales representatives should be banned during medical training?
View the document1.4 Do doctors think they have enough training to deal with sales representatives?
View the document1.5 Do doctors think that sales representatives have a valuable role in medical education?
View the document1.6 What do health professionals think about the quality of the information provided by sales representatives and advertisements about drugs?
View the document1.7 What do other groups of people think of promotional information?
View the document1.8 What are doctors’ views of pharmaceutical company support of conferences and speakers?
View the document1.9 Do trainee doctors plan to see sales representatives in their future practice?
View the document1.10 What are professionals’ and patients’ attitudes to the appropriateness of gifts?
View the document1.11 Do health professionals feel that discussions with sales representatives affect prescribing?
View the document1.12 Do people feel that accepting gifts influences prescribing?
View the document1.13 Ethics and promotion
View the document1.14 Attitudes to direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs
View the document1.15 Studies of differences in attitudes to promotion (excluding DTCA)
View the documentSummary of conclusions
View the documentDirections for future research
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

1.1 Attitudes do not necessarily match behaviour

Several studies show that finding out what people think about promotion may not be a good way to predict their behaviour. For example, Peay and Peay’s 1984 paper1 suggests a doctor’s view of the worthiness of an information source may not be reflected in how often s/he uses it. Sales representatives and other commercial sources were not evaluated highly, but sales representatives were the most frequent source of first information about medicines, and were one of the most frequently mentioned sources of information needed to prescribe. Other commercial sources were also often mentioned as sources of first information about a drug. Similarly, Gambrill and Bridges-Webb found that 56% of the Australian doctors in their study reported that they used sales representatives as a regular source of information, but only 17% ranked them as the most useful2. McCue et al.3 surveyed general practitioners (GPs), internists and surgeons in North Carolina, about their attitudes towards and use of different sources of information about new drugs. Although only 27.7% of the respondents viewed drug sales representatives as accurate and accessible sources of information about new drugs, they were used more frequently than other sources. This study had a low response rate.

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Last updated: May 4, 2012