US doctors say reps provide helpful information

 The majority of US doctors believe that pharma companies and their sales representatives are useful sources of information about prescription medicines, a new study says.

According to more than 500 American Medical Association (AMA) members, nearly eight out of ten physicians view pharma, their reps and company-sponsored programmes as helpful.

John J. Castellani (pictured), President and CEO, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) – who supported the study – says the information helps doctors “make the most informed treatment decisions possible”.

The doctors also rated continuing medical education (CME) courses, peer-reviewed medical journals, and also fellow physicians as other useful sources of information.

The study revealed that more than 90% of doctors said that interactions with reps allow them to learn about new indications for approved medicines, potential side effects and emerging benefits and risks. 

Just under 70% of doctors said they use the information provided by reps in making their own prescribing decisions as part of a wide range of information they call upon, including their own clinical knowledge.

More than 80% of doctors also said their meetings and interactions with representatives give them a useful opportunity to provide feedback to pharma companies about their experiences with products.

“What is clear from the results of the survey is that physicians review and integrate information from many sources in order to stay informed about medicines,” Mr Castellani said.