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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 15116

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Journal Article

Vitry A, Lai YH.
Advertising of antihypertensive medicines and prescription sales in Australia
Internal Medicine Journal 2009 Feb 16; epub ahead of print


Background: Drug promotion is one of the main factors that influence prescribing practices but there are limited data available to quantify the relationship between drug advertising and prescription sales.

Aims: To investigate the relationship between advertising for antihypertensive medicines and prescription sales in Australia between 1993 and 2002.

Methods: Retrospective observational study. Advertising trends were monitored by counting the number of advertisements published in 3 Australian medical journals. Monthly prescription dispensing data were obtained from DUSC and expressed as numbers of Defined Daily Doses (DDDs)/1000 inhabitants/day. Linear regression and cross-correlations of time series were used in the analysis.

Results: The drug classes the most heavily advertised, ACE inhibitors and CCBs, were also the most prescribed during the study period while the drugs the least advertised, thiazide diuretics and beta-blockers, were the least used. In 5 of the 7 main antihypertensive classes, the product the most advertised was also the most prescribed. Other factors such as the publication of large clinical trials may have also influenced prescribing patterns.

Conclusions: Prescription sales of antihypertensives in Australia are correlated with promotional advertising. The newest and most expensive medicines may be chosen over older effective drugs by prescribers. New policies on drug promotion control need to be developed.

promotion • advertising • prescription sales • antihypertensive medicines


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