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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 20400

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

Spiller LD, Wymer WW Jr.
Physicians' perceptions and uses of commercial drug information sources: an examination of pharmaceutical marketing to physicians.
Health Mark Q 2001; 19:(1):91-106


Data were collected from physicians attending a medical conference. This exploratory study was primarily interested in two areas. First, the investigators were interested in better understanding physicians’ responses to different promotional tactics typically used by the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical representatives were most useful, followed by drug samples and infomercials in medical journals. Direct mail, promotional faxes, and promotional products were used less by physicians. Second, the investigators were interested in learning what information sources influenced physicians’ drug choices. Physicians were primarily influenced by their prior experience with a drug, then by drug compendiums, and journal articles. Physicians were also influenced by information provided by the industry and other factors, like the drug’s price and their patients’ financial situations. Managerial implications for marketing to physicians and ideas for future research are discussed.

Advertising as Topic* Attitude of Health Personnel* Drug Industry/statistics & numerical data* Drug Information Services/statistics & numerical data Drug Information Services/utilization* Humans Persuasive Communication* Physicians/psychology* Physicians/statistics & numerical data Questionnaires United States


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Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909