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
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?
close this folderReview 4. What interventions have been tried to counter promotional activities, and with what results?
View the document4.1 Guidelines, codes and regulations for printed and broadcast material
View the document4.2. The ‘Fair Balance’ requirement
View the document4.3 Guidelines for sales representatives
View the document4.4 Guidelines for post-marketing surveillance
View the document4.5 Guidelines on conflict of interest in research
View the document4.6 Guidelines for package inserts and compendia
View the document4.7 Guidelines about gifts
View the document4.8 Guidelines for trainee doctors and for hospitals
View the document4.9 Knowledge of these guidelines and their effect on attitudes
View the document4.10 Education about promotion
View the document4.11 Monitoring/countering promotion
View the document4.12 Research as an intervention
View the documentSummary of conclusions
View the documentDirections for future research
View the documentFinal conclusions
View the documentReferences

Directions for future research

There is a need for greater linkage between research, interventions and evaluation is needed. Those planning interventions need to draw on previous research for designing and targeting their programmes. For example, previous reviews have suggested that some doctors rely heavily on promotion, and that their prescribing is also sometimes irrational. Interventions targeted at these doctors are likely to have a greater impact than those targeted at doctors in general, or particularly interventions which include volunteers only (likely to be those who are already sympathetic to rational prescribing messages). Interventions also need to be evaluated, and these evaluations need to be published so that others can learn from them. Reasonable follow-up times are needed, to show whether the effects of interventions persist over time.

Studies are also urgently needed comparing the effect of different regulatory frameworks. Najman et al.’s study205 was the only one included here which did this. Governments and others introducing policies to regulate promotional activities need good evidence of the advantages and drawbacks of different systems.


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Last updated: May 4, 2012