22-Apr-13 8:00 AM  CST

Pharmaceutical Sales Tactics and Information Quality

Pharmaceutical sales representatives are an important part of the pharmacy field and are often the gatekeepers of new drug information.  They also often have first hand knowledge of new drug approvals and recalls.  However, according to a new survey, some rarely mention serious adverse drug events and other common side effects concerning medication they are promoting when seeing primary care physicians.  The study’s findings were published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.   


The new study asked a sample of random primary care physicians in Montreal, Vancouver, Sacramento, California, and Toulouse, France, to participate in the survey and results concluded that very few pharmaceutical sales representatives gave minimal information when it comes to providing critical and complete medication information.  In considering the survey results, doctors felt ‘new innovative strategies for sharing information about new drugs are needed.’


One of the study’s co-authors and UC Davis professor of medicine Michael Wilkes commented on the study.  “We found that interactions between doctors and drug sales reps failed to meet even a minimum standard for the information needed for safe prescribing.  Since physicians are heavily influenced by promotional sales visits from drug company representatives, patient safety is being compromised by what we found to be a real lack of adequate information about drug risks and dangers,” said Wilkes.     


The study was funded by the Institute of Health Services and Policy Research, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and by the Michael Smith Health Research Foundation. 


As a pharmacy technician do you and your pharmacist come in contact with pharmaceutical sales representatives?  Do you agree with the results of the study?  Should drug representatives do a better job explaining drug benefits, risks, side effects, and contradictions? 



1.  Casey, Charles.  “Study Finds Physicians Often Receive No Information about Harmful Effects of Medicines:  Pharmaceutical sales visits found lacking.”  UC Davis Health System Press Release.  Web.  10 Apr 2013. 


2.  Laino, Charlene.  “Hard Sell:  Questions Raised About Pharma Sales Tactics.”  MedPage Today.  Web.  12 Apr 2013.

For additional information on this article, please contact:
Jennifer S. O'Reilly
Source: NPTAnews  

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