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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 639

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

Anderson GM, Lexchin J.
Strategies for improving prescribing practice.
CMAJ 1996 Apr 1; 154:(7):1013-7


Drug therapy is an integral component of modern medical care, and practising physicians are faced with the difficult task of keeping up with rapid changes in pharmacologic treatments. Recent evidence indicates that prescribing practice is often inconsistent with criteria for safety and effectiveness. Surveys indicate that community-based physicians are not satisfied with current sources of information on prescription drugs. The dissemination of printed material alone does not lead to improved prescribing practice, but specific education and feedback strategies can. To improve prescribing practice in Canada we need to systematically evaluate strategies to change prescribing behaviour, to design quality assurance programs based on proven strategies and to develop collaboration and cooperation among providers, manufacturers, governments and the public.

*nonsystematic review Canada doctors attitude toward promotion quality of prescribing source of information ATTITUDES REGARDING PROMOTION: HEALTH PROFESSIONALS PROMOTION AS A SOURCE OF INFORMATION: DOCTORS


Comment in:
CMAJ. 1996 Jun 1;154(11):1620.
CMAJ. 1996 Nov 15;155(10):1390, 1392.
CMAJ. 1996 Sep 1;155(5):512-3.


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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