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.