Design, Evaluation and Implementation of a Marketing of Medicines Curriculum for Health Professionals

Investigator: Lisa Bero, PhD
Sponsor: State of Oregon

Location(s): United States


The pharmaceutical industry spent about $29 billion on marketing of drugs in 2005. Methods include direct-to-consumer drug advertising, advertising to physicians, and detailing, as well as less obvious strategies, such as the use of opinion leaders, and sponsorship of education, scientific research, publications and professional meetings. All of these marketing strategies influence prescribing. Interactions with the pharmaceutical industry increase the likelihood of prescribing irrationally or making formulary requests for the company’s product. In addition, health professionals at all levels of training tend to believe that they are not influenced by drug industry marketing. Thus, there is a pressing need for health care practitioners to learn about the tactics of the pharmaceutical industry and their potential effects. This course provides an unsurpassed opportunity to learn about the marketing practices of the pharmaceutical industry by reviewing evidence on the content and effects of marketing. We also provide supplemental materials for participants to work through problems to give them practice in assessing conflict of interest situations. Participants will have the opportunity to evaluate marketing materials that are used in different types of clinical scenarios. Participants are provided with problem sets and a bingo game for evaluating drug advertisements. This work was made possible by a grant from the state Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program which is funded by the multi-state settlement of consumer fraud claims regarding the marketing of the prescription drug Neurontin.