Tonight the ABC’s 7.30 report will feature an idea I dreamt up six months ago, called ‘No Advertising Please’.
Twenty five enthusiastic doctors and health advocates from around Australia have put together a campaign we are proud of.
As readers of this blog will know, I believe that patients’ interests are best served if doctors distance their clinical decisions from the influences of marketing and advertising. Medications are a vital tool for doctors, and pharmaceutical companies have every right to try to maximise their profits – clearly this will involve advertising.
However, doctors have a duty of care to their patients to ensure that their prescribing choice is based on the best available evidence, and on their knowledge of the particular patient circumstances. This choice should not be influenced by which pharmaceutical sales rep happens to have visited the doctor’s surgery in the past month.
The ‘No Advertising Please’ campaign asks doctors to consider the evidence – which we lay out in detail – that seeing drug reps does directly influence prescribing decisions, and that those decisions tend, on average, to be less appropriate as a result of marketing.
Drug reps are a dubious source of education for doctors to rely upon, particularly in the modern age where so much independent, balanced information is available online. We are inviting all doctors and doctors-in-training to sign a pledge to choose not to see visiting drug reps for one year.
I’ll post more about this in the coming days. For now, watch the 7.30 report tonight on the ABC and keep an eye out for various articles tomorrow (Friday) morning.
The No Advertising Please website will go live at noadvertisingplease.org later today.
Never before have drug company pipelines held such amazing promise and Dr’s need to take personal responsibility for keeping their own knowledge up to date, in addition to industry associations and official channels – no-one is forcing anyone embrace any particular “product”, but to choose deliberate ignorance is surely flat-earth madness!
Having enjoyed the benefits of company car, nationwide petrol card etc it’d be hypocritical of me to criticise the road warriors. And look at what you have to learn from Pfizer alone: the last Nat’l Product Mngr of Immunology’s commercial pilot qualification is just the ticket (hint, hint) for helping you get to rheumatology conferences. Or http://au.linkedin.com/pub/mark-stephens/92/6a4/a0b informs us that you can be shown innovative ways to re-invent the workplace. Gotta love that.