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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 381

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

Roughead EE, Gilbert AL, Harvey KJ.
Self-regulatory codes of conduct: are they effective in controlling pharmaceutical representatives' presentations to general medical practitioners?
Int J Health Serv 1998; 28:(2):269-79


Abstract:

Self-regulatory codes of conduct are used to control the promotional practices of the pharmaceutical industry, but the effectiveness of these codes in controlling pharmaceutical representatives’ presentations has not been examined. This is a matter of concern because pharmaceutical representatives have more influence than any other promotional media on prescribing practices. The authors developed a method for monitoring the oral presentations of pharmaceutical representatives when promoting products to medical practitioners. Sixteen audio-recordings, detailing 64 medicines, were obtained; 38 of the 64 products were prescription-only medicines. Information on indications and on dosage and administration was commonly provided, but information on other areas of drug knowledge, particularly product risk, was minimal. Thirteen presentations contained at least one inaccuracy when compared with Australian Approved Product Information. Presentations did not always comply with current guidelines in the Code of Conduct. The Code provides only limited standards for pharmaceutical representatives’ presentations, and no active monitoring system is in place to ensure adherence to the code. There is an urgent need for policy development on the role of pharmaceutical representatives, their standards of practice, and regulation of their activities to ensure they contribute to the appropriate use of medicines.

Keywords:
MeSH Terms: Australia Commerce/standards Drug Industry/standards* Drug Information Services/standards Ethics, Pharmacy* Family Practice* Female Guidelines* Humans Male Marketing of Health Services/standards Persuasive Communication

 

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You are going to have many difficulties. The smokers will not like your message. The tobacco interests will be vigorously opposed. The media and the government will be loath to support these findings. But you have one factor in your favour. What you have going for you is that you are right.
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See:
When truth is unwelcome: the first reports on smoking and lung cancer.