In today’s email:
“The Debate of Influencing Doctors’ Decisions: Are Drug Characteristics the Missing Link?” is featured in the November 2007 edition of Management Science. The study was produced independently of the pharmaceutical industry, and may have important implications for policy makers and authorities exploring the way marketing affects drug dispensation, the researchers say.
The authors’ analysis is based on an examination of data provided by a large firm specializing in pharmaceutical marketing and clinical trial reports from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. The data yield five key findings, all of which illuminate how marketing affects doctors’ decision-making:
- Marketing efforts are more successful for more effective drugs than less effective drugs.
- Excessive marketing efforts can actually lower the distribution of less effective drugs.
- Marketing efforts are more successful for drugs with more side effects than drugs with fewer side effects.
- Physicians will accommodate requests more often for drugs with fewer side effects.
- Physicians are more responsive to patient requests for more effective drugs.
“There is evidence that physicians rely on science while prescribing,” [one of the authors] said. “If a drug has many side effects, it’s best to have a sales rep explain those side effects directly to a doctor rather than firms bypassing medical professionals with ads aimed at patients.”
Fascinating findings. It will be interesting to see if they are borne out by further research. Maybe Dr. Drug Rep’s self-flagellation a month or so ago (see HealthBlawg post on that and related subjects here) was unwarranted after all.