Study: Physicians Insufficiently Informed of Drug Side Effects



An international involving 255 practising in Vancouver, Montreal, Sacramento and Toulouse found that are not given enough information about the adverse of drugs during presentations made by medical sales representatives from pharmaceutical companies. And yet, these same physicians are willing to prescribe at least some of the presented drugs. Dr. Geneviève Durrieu (from the Pharmaco-epidemiology team assessing the use of medication and the risks involved, Unit 1027 “Epidemiology and public health analyses: risks, chronic diseases and handicaps” – Inserm / Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier) led the French part of this study, the results of which are published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Within the framework of this international study, is France proving to be a model student?

Prescription-only drugs play a major part in the therapeutic care of the patient. However, they can also have adverse effects on the patient’s health. Several studies have shown that the information provided by the medical sales reps strongly influence the decision to add a to a prescription, often without the physician being fully aware of the effects. In order to find out more, international researchers carried out an accurate study on the quality of the information given by medical sales reps when promoting drugs to physicians.

4 sites were selected: Vancouver, Montreal, Sacramento and Toulouse. The physicians were selected by a draw. Of the 704 physicians contacted, 36% agreed to participate. Then information was gathered about 1692 drugs promoted by medical sales reps between May 2009 and June 2010.

After each visit from the sales rep, the physicians were asked to fill in a questionnaire about how the drugs were promoted by the sales rep: they gave information (benefits and risks) about each promoted product, handed out free samples and gave invitations to events.

An overall lack of…Read more

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