General practitioners and pharmaceutical sales representatives: quality improvement research

Spurling, Geoffrey and Mansfield, Peter (2007) General practitioners and pharmaceutical sales representatives: quality improvement research. Quality and Safety in Health Care, 16 4: 266-270. doi:10.1136/qshc.2006.020164

Author Spurling, Geoffrey
Mansfield, Peter
Title General practitioners and pharmaceutical sales representatives: quality improvement research
Journal name Quality and Safety in Health Care   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1475-3898
Publication date 2007-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1136/qshc.2006.020164
Volume 16
Issue 4
Start page 266
End page 270
Total pages 5
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BMJ
Language eng
Subject 111717 Primary Health Care
Abstract Background and objective: Interaction between pharmaceutical sales representatives (PSRs) and general practitioners (GPs) may have an adverse impact on GP prescribing and therefore may be ethically questionable. This study aimed to evaluate the interactions between PSRs and GPs in an Australian general practice, and develop and evaluate a policy to guide the interaction. Methods: Doctors’ prescribing, diaries, practice promotional material and samples were audited and a staff survey undertaken. After receiving feedback, the staff voted on practice policy options. The resulting policy was evaluated 3 and 9 months. Results: Prior to the intervention, GPs spent on average 40 min/doctor/month with PSRs. There were 239 items of promotional material in the practice and 4660 tablets in the sample cupboard. These were reduced by 32% and 59%, respectively, at 3 months after policy adoption and the reduction was sustained at 9 months. Vioxx was the most common drug name in promotional material. Staff adopted a policy of reduced access to PSRs including: reception staff not to make appointments for PSRs or accept promotional material; PSRs cannot access sample cupboards; GPs wishing to see PSRs may do so outside consulting hours. At 3 and 9 months, most staff were satisfied with the changes. Promotional items/room were not significantly reduced at 3 months (–4.0 items/room ; 95% CI –6.61 to –1.39; p = 0.066) or 9 months (–2.63 items/room; 95% CI –5.86 to 0.60; p = 0.24). Generic prescribing significantly increased at 3 months (OR 2.28, 95% CI 1.31 to 3.86; p = 0.0027) and 9 months (OR 2.07, 95% CI 1.13 to 3.82; p = 0.016). Conclusion: There was a marked reduction in interactions with PSRs with majority staff satisfaction and improved prescribing practices. The new policy will form part of the practice’s orientation package. Reception staff give PSRs a letter explaining the policy. It is hoped that the extra 40 min/doctor of consulting time translates into more time with patients and time to evaluate more independent sources of drug information. Abbreviations: GP, general practitioner; PSR, pharmaceutical sales representative
Keyword Pharmaceutical Sales
General practitioners
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 7 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 22 Jan 2009, 17:43:00 EST by Gina Velli on behalf of Faculty Of Health Sciences