Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Education And Debate

Who pays for the pizza? Redefining the relationships between doctors and drug companies. 1: Entanglement

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 29 May 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1189

Rapid Response:

A more sinister approach via software

In Australia, >70% of General Practitioners use a software package
health record keeping that is sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry.
Whenever a prescription is printed, a banner ad occupies the screen for
several seconds. Some advertisements appear context sensitive to the
current prescription and patient.

If we assume that the conclusion of this issue's BMJ hot topic is
- namely that prescription habits are largely influenced by advertising as
opposed to peer reviewed published evidence, then we have a situation
where marginal cost savings to the GP in the form of sponsored
software may create a more considerable cost increase to the public
health system through induction of irrational prescribing habits. Small
savings costing the nation dearly.

Competing interests:  
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

03 June 2003
Horst Herb
rural G.P., Principal of Dorrigo Medical Centre
Dorrigo, NSW 2453, Australia