Published: 2016-12-28

Evaluation of drug promotional literature directed to consumers and physicians

Suleiman I. Sharif, Mohammed M. Hassanein, Mai M. Hassanein


Background: The present study aims at analysing promotional brochures and direct-to-consumer advertisements using the criteria for ethical medicinal drug promotion compiled by World Health Organization.

Methods: Using World Health Organization criteria for ethical medicinal drug promotion, thirty brochures were evaluated for their fulfilment of the criteria and claims they are making. Also eight Direct to Consumer (DTC) TV advertisements were coded for their claimed indications and the factors used to attract consumers. An overview of what impact does drug promotion has provided through reviewing the published literature.

Results: Brochures and advertisements directed to physicians were found to lack information with regard to generic (17.2%), brand (0%), indication (13.8%), dosage regimen (27.5%), safety information (62%), references (10.3%), manufacture (3.4%), safety (24.1%), efficacy (34.5%), suitability (20.6%), pharmacokinetics (3.4%) pharmaceutical property (3.4%) and extravagant emotional claims (3.4%). Information lacking in DTC TV advertisements include, risk factors (62.5%), alternative treatment (62.5%), indications (37.5%), side effects (75%), contraindications\precautions (50%), and sources for more information about the promoted drug (25%).

Conclusions: Drug advertisements presented to physicians or directed to consumers did not fully satisfy the WHO criteria and their lack of essential information may lead to medication misuse.


Evaluation, Drug promotional brochures, DTC, Direct-to-physician, Advertisement

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