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    Ron Batagol

    As a pharmacist and pharmacy and drug information consultant and author, I have an ongoing interest in a broad range of medication management issues ,especially with regard to optimum safe and effective use of medicines.
    So, re: the “no advertising” campaign”- (with one qualification which I refer to).
    I say, “C’mon get with it”!

    In the 21st century, doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals don’t need drug company promo. for new drugs- These days, Australian Prescriber- monthly”New Drugs” section and NPS Radar provide regular authenticated unbiased updates on new drugs! Available on line too!
    In this context, an article in this month’s Aust.Prescriber”Tricks of the trade in drug promotion” is a good read also!

    From my experience and involvement personally and on various committees associated with drug usage and safety issues, often the “evidence” and “outcome” data in promotional leaflets is, naturally enough, very selective, and falls short of the independent, evidence-based criteria that we would apply to independently evaluating the clinical outcome of a new form of drug treatment. .
    But, to be fair, aside from issues such as sort of examples of misleading promotion that Justin Coleman cites, that’s not illegal or duplicitous.-
    Indeed, why wouldn’t drug companies wish to promote their products in the most favourable light.
    We just need to be aware of that real world situation , and to stop pretending that drug company leaflets and sponsored “educational promotions” are some form of independent drug educational format and/or forum!
    As Justin Coleman writes” In an evidence-based world, online access to high-quality, unbiased information should have killed off the ‘necessary for education’ argument as effectively as it has undermined hard-copy encyclopaedia sales”.

    BUT I have to express a word of caution against a blanket ban on drug reps.completely.
    In-specialised medical and drug treatment areas, drug reps. can be a valuable resource for education on new techniques, or new products involving new forms of drug delivery or monitoring systems, since their companies are often the ones who developed those systems or techniques!.

    Ron Batagol

  2. 2


    Be careful what you wish for people.

    Marketing exists, and Big Pharma has deep pockets.

    If you stop marketing to doctors, you will have more marketing to governments, consumers and pharmacists. Of those groups, doctors are the best equipped to help their patients with drug selection.

    Do you really want patients asking doctors to prescribe them products like they do in the US? Or Pharmacists only stocking certain products due to exclusive deals? Or worse of all, governments only approving particular products on the PBS.

    The status quo is best. It’s better for doctors to handle the pharma reps. Its a level playing fields so with competing drug reps, they should get a good knowledge of the benefits of all products on the PBS, and how best to help their patients.


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