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

Review 1. What attitudes do professional and lay people have to promotion?

Finding out what people think about promotion, and what effect they think it has on them, is important because it can help us to develop relevant interventions. However, research on this topic cannot provide evidence about the actual effects of promotion. Promotion may affect people in ways that they do not know about, or are reluctant to tell others about.

This review describes studies that examine what people think about promotion. Studies about how people use promotion and other sources of drug information are not included here; these can be found in Review 2.

Research on attitudes to promotion relies heavily on survey methods. It tends to provide estimates of how many people agree with or disagree with certain statements, mostly about the appropriateness and effect of various forms of promotion. There are some more complex studies, which attempt to explore other variables associated with different attitudes to promotion. These try to find out what kinds of people have different opinions on promotion. Such studies are more useful.

There is little qualitative research on people’s attitudes to promotion, and this is a major gap. In order to understand people’s perspectives and values more clearly, in-depth interviews are needed. People should be express themselves in their own way about what they think about promotion and how it affects them. Ethnographic research, in which the researcher spends time with doctors and tries to understand how promotion fits into their working lives, would also be useful.

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Last updated: May 4, 2012