Pharma reps rarely mention drug hazards

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 29, 2013

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Doctors report that pharmaceutical sales representatives usually skip safety warnings when talking up their company’s products, according to a study posted online April 5 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

More than 250 physicians in the U.S., Canada and France reported on nearly 1,700 detailer visits, and serious adverse events were mentioned only about 6% of the time. That was the case even though 45% of the visits focused on drugs that had black-box warnings from the Food and Drug Administration. There were no big differences in the quality of visits by country, said the study (link).

Less than 2% of the visits included what researchers defined as “minimally adequate safety information” — the mention of at least one indication, serious adverse event, common adverse event and contraindication, along with no mention of unqualified safety claims or unapproved indications.

Despite the lack of safety warnings, the doctors rated the quality of the information presented as good or excellent 54% of the time and indicated “readiness to prescribe” 64% of the time.

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