Australian Physicians Launch “No Drug Ads” Campaign

Rob Wipond
6
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A group of physicians and academics in Australia has launched a campaign to ban all pharmaceutical company sales representatives from visiting any medical doctors or psychiatrists, reports ABC News. Physician Geoff Spurling reviewed 58 international studies looking at the impacts of the practice, and told ABC News, “We found that doctors who saw drug reps were more than twice as likely to prescribe the promoted drug than doctors who hadn’t seen drug reps.”

“I think it is important to make sure your prescribing reflects the best interests of patient safety rather than the shareholders of pharmaceutical companies,” said Spurling. He added that many physicians “kid themselves with the lunches and the little perks and the nice interaction at morning tea that they are doing something beneficial for their patients, but there is no evidence for that.”

Australian Medical Association representative Brian Morton, however, told ABC News that he is visited by sales representatives most days, and does not see any reason to stop. “I think the campaign is a bit silly, it’s insulting to doctors, it’s also rather naive,” said Morton. “If it were lunch at a hotel with wine etcetera that would be totally inappropriate, but a sandwich from a sales rep and a chance to sit with colleagues and discuss issues allows me to also be educated properly.”

GPs launch No Advertising Please to push for end to drug companies meeting doctors (ABC News, October 10, 2014)

No Advertising Please Website

No Advertising Please Campaign Video

6 COMMENTS

  1. Morton: “but a sandwich from a sales rep and a chance to sit with colleagues and discuss issues allows me to also be educated properly.”

    Just don’t mention that the sandwich was on a weeks paid holiday in the Bahamas Doc. Anyone here refer him to a good optometrist? Think he may have a problem with one of his eyes.

    • You forgot to mention the “educated properly” part of that comment. When I went for my last physical, to a very respectable new doctor, and had to medically explain the iatrogenic hell I’d suffered through. This new doctor told me “Wellbutrin can’t cause odd sexual side effects.” I had to tell him J&J was threatened with a lawsuit for trying to market that drug off label because it increases libido in women, and that is an odd sexual side effect.

      The pharmaceutical reps are NOT properly educating the doctors yet, and my situation is certainly just one example.

      • Good point SomeoneElse, just like car salesmen will point out the good parts of the car they are trying to sell you, and do everything they can to make sure you don’t inspect anywhere there are problems.

        “That little spot of rust? Not a problem” while underneath that “little spot” is quite possibly damage that would make the car unroadworthy. Dr Morton might want to be a bit more of a skeptic.

  2. “If it were lunch at a hotel with wine etcetera that would be totally inappropriate, but a sandwich from a sales rep and a chance to sit with colleagues and discuss issues allows me to also be educated properly.”
    This guys desires an insult or rather the accurate description of his work ethics and/or intellect. Btw, if you need to take your education from sales reps then you have no business being a doctor.

  3. “Rather naive”? The doctor doesn’t understand that what he’s engaging in is potentially very damaging to the medical community as a whole in terms of ethics and “do no harm.” I certainly wish “no drug ads” would be a reality in the U.S. There’s a vast drug epidemic here, and not many people seem to notice or care. Drug commercials are ubiquitous. Meanwhile, medical and pharmaceutical companies reap tremendous profits from patients’ suffering. For the most part drugs mask symptoms and that’s it. Meanwhile, the drug may be causing offshoot problems in other parts of the body that could be much more harmful than the original reason for taking the drug. Drugs are not to be trusted and should only be used in dire circumstances or for short term. I’ve learned through very difficult circumstances. Had I been more aware, I wouldn’t have gone down such a rough path. But better late than never.

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