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Knowledge and opinions of postgraduate resident doctors regarding promotional drug literature: A cross-sectional study

Miti Ravin Gandhi, Savita Shahani, Noopur Ajaykumar Vyas.

Background: Pharmaceutical companies develop, introduce, and sell many novel drugs on a regular basis. For the manufacturers and distributors of these drugs, the sole important focus remains promoting them to prescribers, who are their target audience. It has been observed in a number of studies that a large number of drug promotional literatures (DPLs) do not follow the code of ethics. Hence, we undertook this study to assess resident doctors’ knowledge and opinions with regard to pharmaceutical promotional material.

Aim and Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the knowledge and make an objective assessment about the opinion of postgraduate residents on DPL.

Materials and Methods: The study design followed was a cross-sectional, observational, questionnaire-based descriptive study to assess knowledge, attitude, and practices of DPL.

Results: Out of the 100 residents, 65 were female and 35 were male. About 92% of the students were unaware of any guidelines applicable for ethical DPL. Only 17% read the text cited fully and 53% felt that the generic name is not given enough prominence in the DPLs. About 63% preferred pictures, 26% preferred scientific tables, and 11% preferred scientific graphs. About 41% do not check the original article(s) and 46% claimed to not observe for any conflict of interest in the references mentioned for the claim(s) made in the DPLs. About 32% claimed that DPLs affected their prescribing habits.

Conclusion: There is a need to educate physicians early into their careers about the ethical guidelines set for assessing DPLs. This will enable them to understand and assimilate the information in a more critical manner.

Key words: Drug Promotional Literature; Questionnaire; Knowledge; Resident

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