Promotion overdose

How much influence do drug companies have on what your GP prescribes you?
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06.A mountain of promotion

We asked a GP with a practice in Sydney’s northern suburbs to record all contact with the drug industry he had during April. 

He received:

  • Promotional material11 direct visits from drug reps
  • 17 promotional drug brochures
  • six drug samples
  • five product information leaflets
  • three invitations to functions
  • three invitations to visit drug company websites
  • one patient information booklet
  • one consumer medicine information leaflet
  • one branded pen
  • one magnet
  • one mouse pad
  • one notepad
  • other bits and pieces

In total he was contacted by 18 different drug companies about 33 different drugs.

“Normally a lot of this stuff is filtered into the bin, but this exercise was surprising –– by collecting it over a month it was really interesting to see just how much we get,” he said.

While he doesn’t always refer to the promotions provided he’d rather receive the information than get nothing at all, and doesn’t think it influences his prescribing.

“I think most doctors are savvy enough to realise the drug companies need to market their products. I wouldn’t prescribe a drug if it didn’t benefit my patients or I felt it was inappropriate.”


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