A cross sectional study of drug promotional literatures in a tertiary care hospital

Shubha R., Shabin Taj, Bindumathi P. L.


Background: Arrival of 100s of new drugs into the market every year makes the rational use of drugs a challenge to the practitioners. The product promotion by pharmaceutical companies disseminates ambiguous drug information through medical representatives using drug promotion literatures (DPLs) which influence the physicians’ prescribing pattern. Objective of the study was to evaluate DPLs for accuracy, consistency, and validity using WHO criteria for ethical medicinal drug promotion.

Methods: DPLs collected from different OPDs were analyzed and evaluated as per WHO criteria. References of DPLs in support of the claims were critically analyzed for their retrievability and validity.

Results: 50 DPLs of 76 drugs were collected and analyzed. Of which 49 were FDCs and 27 single drug formulations. None of the DPLs fulfilled all the WHO criteria. Only 26% (13) fulfilled a maximum of 8 WHO criteria. Out of 88 references given in support of claims, 17% (15) of the references were irretrievable, 62 were from journals, 4 from textbooks and 7 from website. Almost all the DPLs had pictures of which only 50% (49) were relevant.

Conclusions: Information provided is incomplete and biased. Hence, health care professionals must evaluate DPLs critically before considering the same for prescribing.


Drug promotion literatures, Ethical drug promotions, Rational drug prescribing, WHO guidelines

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