Promotion overdose

How much influence do drug companies have on what your GP prescribes you?
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07.Choice verdict

More objective information needed

Our survey shows that pharmaceutical promotion is abundant while objective, evidence-based information from independent organisations is underutilised in informing prescribing decisions.

  • CHOICE wants the government to invest more money in the NPS independent drug detailing services and other activities to promote the quality use of medicine.
  • CHOICE believes the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct is ineffective. It needs to provide sufficient penalties to deter breaches and there needs to be more effective monitoring and enforcement of the Code. Ultimately it should be administered by a body that’s independent of the pharmaceutical industry.

CHOICE investigation of drug advertising

In a separate investigation, CHOICE examined advertising in medical trade press over a 12-month period, looking in detail at drugs used to treat high blood pressure. We found that promotion focused on medicines which are newer and more expensive but not necessarily more effective. Medicines which are out of patent are rarely promoted, even where their use is considered best practice. These findings demonstrate some of the biases which make pharmaceutical advertising a poor source of information for doctors.

See Drug advertising to read more about this investigation.


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