Intended for healthcare professionals


Responses from pharmaceutical companies to doctors' requests for more drug information in Pakistan: postal survey

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 28 August 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:547
  1. Assad Hafeez, consultant paediatrician (,
  2. Zafar Mirza, executive coordinatorb
  1. a Paediatric Department, Khan Research Laboratories Hospital, Islamabad, Pakistan
  2. b The Network for Rational Use of Medication in Pakistan, Islamabad, Pakistan
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Hafeez
  • Accepted 24 May 1999

What health professionals know about medicines resembles the information provided in the advertisements of pharmaceutical companies rather than the scientific literature.1 Drug companies spend 15-20% of their income on promotion.2 They are responsible for providing adequate information about drugs, and the wording and illustrations should be consistent with the scientific data sheet for the drug concerned.3 Inadequate and biased information has been reported in developing countries and this results in incorrect use of drugs.4 5

We assessed how seriously pharmaceutical companies take their responsibility to provide information on request by recording the promptness, nature, and adequacy of their replies to doctors.

Subjects, methods, and results

We randomly selected over three months 100 promotional brochures which stated that full prescribing information was available on request. We approached 25 doctors in five cities in Pakistan to take part in …

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