Editorials

Reasons for not seeing drug representatives

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7202.69 (Published 10 July 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:69

Lightening workload, cutting costs, and improving quality

  1. David Griffith, Consultant physician for care of older people
  1. Mayday Healthcare, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 7YE

    Many doctors— both hospital doctors1 and general practitioners2 — feel that their workloads are increasing. There is a sense that we are being overwhelmed by a multitude of calls on our time, fitting in management and administration, continuing medical education, teaching, audit, and appraisals over and above our basic clinical work. Why then do so many doctors still find time to see drug company representatives?

    Most doctors still see them regularly and a few (perhaps about 10%) see them quite often (M Butterfield, personal communication: unpublished data from BMJ readers). Lexchin noted that representatives have traditionally been seen as the most important source of information about new drugs.3 4 There may have been a time when representatives were the easiest source for finding out about pharmaceutical developments, but now there is ready access to a plethora of non-promotional, evidence based information in simple and digestible form on all the major therapeutic advances. Drug information departments additionally supply detailed advice on such matters as …

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