Evaluation of drug promotional literatures in a tertiary care hospital setting in South India

Ravi H. Kudthni, Fazeel Zubair Ahmed, Sangala Srimanth Madanna, Samba Siva Raju Derangula, Pothuru Anil Kumar


Background: The drug promotional literature is one of many sources for seeking information about the drugs to the busy medical practitioner. The aim of current study was to assess drug promotional literatures as per world health organization, criteria and categorize them and to analyse the claims in presented in DPL.

Methods: Current study is a descriptive study in which pharmaceutical promotional materials were collected from selected out-patient departments of a tertiary care hospital, Kurnool. Printed drug promotional literatures for modern drugs were collected and an assessment was made whether the advertisements adhered to WHO criteria for medicinal drug promotion.

Results: A total of 271 drug promotional literatures were collected. Information about the single drug was given in 127 (46.9%). 144 (53.1%) DPLs contain fixed-dose combination. Majority of drug promoted in collected DPLs were miscellaneous group 83 (30.8%) followed by antimicrobials 55 (20.3%) and blood and cardiovascular drugs 37 (13.1), gastrointestinal drugs 23 (8.5%), drugs acting on endocrine system 23 (84.5%). Generic name was mentioned in 229 (84.5%) while brand name was mentioned in 271 (100%) of DPL.

Conclusions: The study concluded that the drug information provided in the promotional brochures can be incomplete and unreliable. Hence a physician should not rely solely on the DPL provided by medical representatives. All brochures circulated among prescribers must undergo a strict process of assessment regarding information provided, especially related to efficacy and safety.


WHO guidelines, Drug promotional literature, Tertiary care hospital

Full Text:



IFPMA code of practice. Available at: Accessed on 20 January 2021.

Mikhael EM. Evaluating the reliability and accuracy the promotional brochures for the genetic pharmaceutical companies in Iraq using WHO guidelines. J Pharma Bioall Sci. 2015;7:65-8.

Thapa BB. Ethics in promotion of medicine (editorial). Drug Bull Nepal. 2006;18(2):3-4.

US promotional spending on prescription drugs. Available at: Accessed on 20 January 2021.

Lexchin J. Deception by design: pharmaceutical promotion in the third world. Available at: Accessed on 20 January 2021.

Drug Promotion what we know, what we yet to learn. Available at: 10665/69177. Accessed on 20 January 2021.

Smita NM, Dudhgaonkar S, Bachewar NP. Evaluation of rationality of promotional drug literature using World Health Organization guidelines. Indian J Pharmacol. 2010;42(5):267-72.

Jaykaran DS, Yadav P, Kantharia ND. Drug promotional literature distributed by pharmaceutical companies: Do they provide enough information to ascertain their validity?. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2011;2(3):192-4.

Kakar S, Gautam C, Patel VJ. Drug information sources: Focus on promotional drug literature. JAABMS. 2000;2:8-9.

Ethical criteria for medicinal drug promotion. Available at: documents/whozip08e/whozip08e.pdf. Accessed on 20 January 2021.

OPPI Code of pharmaceutical practices. Available at: images/OPPI-Code-ofPharmaceutical-Practices-2012.pdf. Accessed on 20 January 2021.

Deolekar P, Yadav P, Deolekar S, Deolekar PS. Evaluation of drug promotional literatures as per world health organization criteria. World J Pharm Res, 2019;8(8):842-50.

Jadav SS, Dumatar CB, Dikshit RK. Drug promotional literatures (DPLs) evaluation as per world health organization (WHO) criteria. J Appl Pharmaceut Sci. 2014;4:84-8.

Randhawa GK, Singh NR, Rai J, Kaur G, Kashyap R. A critical analysis of claims and their authenticity in Indian drug promotional advertisements. Adv Med. 2015;2015:469147.

Islam MS, Farah SS. Misleading promotion of drugs in Bangladesh: evidence from drug promotional brochures distributed to general practitioners by the pharmaceutical companies. J Public Health. 2007;29(2):212-3.