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Why one doctor doesn’t see drug reps – a GP’s take on Big Pharma spruiking

Why one doctor doesn’t see drug reps – a GP’s take on Big Pharma spruiking

Brett Montgomery, Associate Professor in General Practice at University of Western Australia explains why:

"But the purpose of that (drug representative) job is to increase medication sales. My responsibility is to prescribe medicines in a manner optimal for the health of my patients. These two purposes may conflict. Doctors need impartial, evidence-based information on medications. We should not confuse education for marketing."

and "Do drug reps affect prescribing?

...This is a question that several colleagues and I tried to answer recently in a systematic review. We collected all the available studies looking at links between doctors' exposure to information from drug companies and their prescribing.

We found that, where links were found between information exposure and prescribing changes, they tended to be in the direction of more prescribing, more expensive prescribing, and lower quality prescribing."

and the conclusion...

"...when you next find yourself being written a prescription, perhaps you could ask the person signing it where they get their information on medicines, and why."

There are plenty of good links in the article for those interested in reading more.

I suspect that this doctor's consulting rooms won't be filled with drug company branded calendars, pens, notepads and other nick-knacks...


Photo: Sundew hungry for some lunch...

1 Reply

Those outside the US may not be able to view it yet, but there's a plot development this season in the TV comedy, Big Bang Theory where the scientifically unschooled, but beautiful Penny gets a job as a drug rep on the basis of her looks alone. In my experience working at a medical center for 10 years, that's all too true.

Some of the doctors would post signs limiting drug rep visits to a short period during the day. It's interruptive to patient care.


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