French Doctors Report on Sales Representatives’ Visits. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 017 (1994)
(1994; 1 page)


The Readers’ Association of the independent French drug bulletin la revue Prescrire has been collecting data on sales representatives’ visits to doctors. Pharmaceutical companies count on these visits as a lucrative method of drug promotion, but the presentations doctors receive are not always accurate. The network of doctors who reported on the visits were asked to fill out an observation form that notes if the information given orally by the representative differs from what is printed on the drug’s data sheet. There were a few limits to this study; the number of observers was small, observation forms were not always filled out, and the representatives knew that the doctors are la revue Prescrire readers, meaning they might have changed their approach to better appeal to a rational prescriber. The observations showed the dosage sometimes did not correspond to the official recommendations and that the side effects were rarely mentioned spontaneously. The latter result raised serious concern and provided concrete evidence of the need for increased monitoring of drug promotion. The researchers suggested that the creation of a code of good practice regarding drug promotion for representatives and doctors is necessary.

Abstract written by M. Tobin, 2013.

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