Intended for healthcare professionals


Are drug advertisements in Indian edition of BMJ unethical?

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 23 August 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:459
  1. B Gitanjali, assistant professor of pharmacologya,
  2. C H Shashindran, professor of pharmacologya,
  3. K D Tripathi, head of pharmacologya,
  4. K R Sethuraman, professor of internal medicinea
  1. a Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Pondicherry 605006, India
  • Accepted 11 December 1996


The BMJ publishes local editions in 16 countries, including India. These make reliable information available in countries where doctors either do not speak English or cannot afford the weekly journal. The local editions contain articles from the weekly edition of the BMJ, some local material, and advertisements.

The Indian edition of the BMJ has been published monthly since 1986. All the articles in it are from the BMJ's international edition except for one or two pages dealing with local news. The edition is reasonably priced and is therefore available to many readers. Unfortunately, the advertisements in the Indian edition do not have the same international standard as those in the weekly BMJ, are misleading, and make unsubstantiated claims.

Method and results

We studied advertisements from pharmaceutical companies appearing in five issues of the Indian edition (August to December 1992; 116 advertisements) and in four issues of the British edition (March 1993; 87 advertisements). Advertisements for parenteral fluids, milk foods, and laboratory equipment were excluded. We noted whether the …

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