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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 6854

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

Griffith D.
Reasons for not seeing drug representatives.
BMJ 1999 Jul 10; 319:(7202):69-70


Although most doctors still see drug representatives there are strong reasons for discontinuing this practice: reliance on commercial sources of information leads to less rational prescribing; early adoption of new drugs may be inappropriate because less is known about safety issues; and increased costs result when doctors prescribe newer drugs that are no more beneficial than older, less expensive ones.

*editorial/quality of prescribing/consumer drug prices/sales representatives/doctors/ATTITUDES REGARDING PROMOTION: HEALTH PROFESSIONALS/EVALUATION OF PROMOTION: DETAILING/EVALUATION OF PROMOTION: GENERAL QUALITY OF INFORMATION/PROMOTIONAL TECHNIQUES: DETAILING Information Dissemination Marketing of Health Services* Pharmaceutical Preparations* Professional Practice* Workload*


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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