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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

1.2 Studies of the prevalence of different attitudes to promotion (excluding direct-to-consumer advertising)

These are studies that simply assess percentages of people who report certain attitudes or beliefs about promotion. Some do start to explore differences within their samples, but this is not their main objective. Many of these studies look at the attitudes of medical students, doctors in training programmes, their trainers, or patients. Few studies look at practicing doctors, or at the public in general. Studies are often based at one or two institutions (usually in the USA and/or Canada), or are written questionnaires sent to directors of training programmes around the USA and/or Canada. Most studies focus on doctors in training or their trainers, examining and discussing what is an appropriate relationship between promotion and training.

Surveys of the prevalence of different attitudes include: Hodges4 who looked at psychiatry residents, interns and clerks in seven Canadian hospitals; Sergeant et al.5 who looked at family medicine residents in Ontario; Aldir et al.’s6 survey of practicing and resident doctors in Northeastern Ohio, USA, about their views of promotion; Barnes and Holcenberg’s7 survey of medical and pharmacy students at the University of Washington in 1970; Blake and Early’s8 survey of Missouri patients about their attitudes to gifts given by pharmaceutical companies to doctors; Madhaven et al.9, who surveyed West Virginia doctors about their attitude to gifts from the industry; and Keim’s10 survey of directors of emergency medicine programmes, and residents in these programmes, about their attitude to interactions with the pharmaceutical industry. Others include: Mainous et al.11, who surveyed 649 adults in Kentucky about their attitudes to doctors accepting gifts from the pharmaceutical industry; Reeder et al.12, who surveyed all chiefs of US emergency medicine residency programmes; Strang et al.13 who surveyed Canadian doctors; Lichstein et al.14 who surveyed directors of internal medicine residency programmes; and Dunn et al.15 who surveyed Ontario physicians.

CONCLUSION: These studies do not suggest any clear patterns in attitudes to promotion. Further research would be required to determine if variations in the findings depend on the population surveyed, and on the way questions were asked, who asked the questions, and in what context.

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Last updated: May 4, 2012