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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 2972

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

Shearer SW, Gagnon JP, Eckel FM.
Community, hospital and clinical pharmacists and drug information centers as physician drug information sources.
Am J Hosp Pharm 1978 Aug; 35:(8):909-14


The use of drug information centers and clinical, hospital and community pharmacists by university and community practice physicians in North Carolina was examined. Questionnaires were sent to 674 nonfederal physicians with a response rate of 203 (35.5%). Approximately half of the sample were staff members of a university hospital. The questionnaire covered eight types of drug information. Significant results were reported at the p = 0.05 level. Physicians sought specific drug information approximately one to four times a month. University hospital-affiliated physicians rated clinical and hospital pharmacists significantly higher than community pharmacists for six subject areas, and they also ranked clinical pharmacists over hospital pharmacists on four subject areas and considered them more reliable than other pharmacy drug information sources. Physicians associated with community hospitals ranked hospital pharmacists over community pharmacists as sources of information for four areas and rated them more reliable than other pharmacy drug information sources; this group preferred to use community pharmacists for information on product availability. It appears that clinical pharmacists are used by university-associated physicians as drug information sources. Use in community hospitals of the hospital pharmacist as a drug information source is better than the literature might suggest.

*analytic survey/United States/doctors/source of information/attitude toward promotion/Physicians’ Desk Reference/PDR/commercial compendia/sales representatives/journal advertisements/direct mail/ATTITUDES REGARDING PROMOTION: HEALTH PROFESSION STUDENTS/PROMOTION AS A SOURCE OF INFORMATION: DOCTORS Attitude of Health Personnel Community Pharmacy Services/utilization Drug Information Services/utilization* Information Services/utilization* North Carolina Pharmaceutical Services/utilization* Pharmacy Service, Hospital/utilization Physicians* Questionnaires Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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Cases of wilful misrepresentation are a rarity in medical advertising. For every advertisement in which nonexistent doctors are called on to testify or deliberately irrelevant references are bunched up in [fine print], you will find a hundred or more whose greatest offenses are unquestioning enthusiasm and the skill to communicate it.

The best defence the physician can muster against this kind of advertising is a healthy skepticism and a willingness, not always apparent in the past, to do his homework. He must cultivate a flair for spotting the logical loophole, the invalid clinical trial, the unreliable or meaningless testimonial, the unneeded improvement and the unlikely claim. Above all, he must develop greater resistance to the lure of the fashionable and the new.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963