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    “and ask government to invest heavily in independent sources of information for doctors”.
    The government has spent the last 2 decades de-funding independent university research, and pushing research onto grant and industry money. They cynic in me suspects that the pharma industry is very happy with the current situation, as money (or the lack thereof) is a great way to get researchers to ask the “right questions” rather than the hard questions. Good luck with getting this changed.

  2. 2

    ron batagol

    I’ve written extensively at various times about the issue of Drug Companies taking over “continuing education “ of health professionals
    Don’t get me wrong. Drug company personnel do perform an invaluable educative service in the areas of complex and specialised products eg. oncology services, and specialised injectable products, or products with a special regimen. They can be of great assistance in advising on techniques of administration, methods of giving etc.
    However, when we take the next step and venture out to the purely professionally educative role, then I think we go beyond the scope of the drug company reps.
    Sure, they will have a whole range of booklets, plus extracts from review articles and papers that support the superior efficacy and safety of their product, and these may be a useful starting point for us to read, for a newly-introduced drug product.
    But, that’s quite different to Drug Companies organising expensive “nosh-ups” for doctors and other health professionals, under the guise of “continuing education”, with sponsored talks complete with beautifully-illustrated graphs, the neat throw-away lines that so convincingly and unequivocally tell us why this new drug is the last word, the “ant’s pants”, indeed the veritable God’s gift to medicine, in the treatment of condition X! No side-effects to speak of, well-tolerated, costs a little more, but then think of the superior effectiveness. Golly gee, it will pay for itself in no time with increased quality of life and productivity!
    I firmly believe that every doctor, pharmacist and other health professional with an interest in drugs, owes it to themselves and their clients/patients to actively look for an independent review of that drug or drug product and read it carefully, as a matter of routine.
    Despite protestations to the contrary, (which, I must confess surprise me), keeping your “ear to the ground” with independent high-quality information is not that awfully difficult. There a number of readily-available sources of independent drug information for newly-introduced products; eg. most professional journals associated with each profession. In addition, NPS Radar covers new drugs, and The Australian Prescriber and the NPS newsletter, and provide regular independent updates, and “pearls” of best practice in diagnosis and treatment, indeed. In this day and age, of course, these sources are readily available on line.
    Drug marketing and drug education are two different things. Don’t confuse the two.
    It’s easy to be “Mc educated”- it comes in such delightful marketing packages that often you can’t resist! On the other hand, wouldn’t you rather super-size it and learn the facts?
    Ron Batagol


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