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

1.5 Do doctors think that sales representatives have a valuable role in medical education?

Twenty-nine per cent of psychiatry trainees agreed that sales representatives have an important teaching role (although in the text this is described as ‘more than 40%’)4. Eighty per cent of the US emergency medicine chief residents thought that their residency programme benefited from interactions with sales representatives. Only six chief residents indicated very strong opposition to allowing residents to interact with sales representatives12. In Bucci and Frey’s study17 of US family practice residency programmes, 48.3% of programme directors felt that sales representatives were a valuable drug information resource for residents, and 55.1% felt they were valuable for practicing doctors.

In Dunn’s study of Ontario physicians, about 10% of doctors rated ‘pharmaceutical handouts’ as an important or very important continuing medical education resource (10.9% of primary care doctors and 12.2% of hospital-based specialists)15. Hayes et al.18 surveyed general practitioners in the UK about their involvement in and attitudes towards industry involvement in continuing medical education. They found that most GPs (90%) had had meetings at their practice for which pharmaceutical companies organized the educational content. The characteristic of these which was most disliked, particularly by trainers and those in practice for more than eight years, was the promotional aspect.

CONCLUSION: The studies reported here all ask quite different (and relatively useless) questions. Opinions about the value of sales representatives are mixed; again differences may have resulted from the way in which the question was framed, and more research would be needed to clarify this.

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Last updated: May 4, 2012