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Refusing drug reps – is it risky business?
SEEN a drug rep lately? If not, you could be putting your patients’ health at risk – according to research by a drug company.
Noting that pharmaceutical sales rep access is more restricted than ever, manufacturer AstraZeneca (AZ) funded a study to gauge the impact on prescribing.
Researchers from AZ and Temple University used data from AccessMonitor to assess how major changes in drug information affected prescribing by physicians who allowed, or did not allow, sales rep visits.
One in 10 US doctors now have a ‘no see’ policy and another one-third have some kind of restrictions on contact with industry representatives, in line with a trend against detailing in academic articles and medical school policies, the authors noted.
They found that when the first-in-class DPP-4 inhibitor sitagliptin was launched in 2006, primary care physicians were slower to adopt it compared to specialists, and practices with low drug rep access had the lowest rate of uptake compared to open access practices.
Doctors in low access practices were also slower to react to a negative trial finding on combination ezetimibe/simvastatin.
And when a critical journal article about rosiglitazone was followed with an FDA black-box warning on the drug, physicians who avoided reps were the slowest to abandon its use, taking up to four times as long as others to take their patients off it.
“Policies that promote physician ignorance of new medical information resulting from access limits runs counter to protecting patient health,” the authors concluded.
J Clin Hypertension 2012; online 21 May
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