A study recently published in the Journal of General Internal Medicinefound that during meetings between pharmaceutical sales reps and doctors, sales reps rarely provide any information about common side effects of the medications they are asking physicians to prescribe.
Doctors frequently learn about new drugs during sales meetings with pharmaceutical representatives. According to a recent article in Time, “Doctors often first learn of new drugs during sales meetings with pharmaceutical sales representatives, during which the representatives educate physicians about their latest offerings, provide free samples, and, according to the law, inform doctors of potential side effects associated with the medications.”
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The study included a random sampling of 255 physicians from the United States, Canada and France, and included the doctors completing a questionnaire immediately after a sales visit that detailed what was discussed during the sales meeting. In 59% of the meetings, sales reps did not provide any information about the type of patients who should not be prescribed the medication. They also failed to inform the doctors about common or serious side-effects. In addition, serious risks were mentioned in only 6% of the meetings, even though 57% of the drugs for which side effects were not discussed carried the highest level of warning used by a country’s regulatory agency, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “black box” or Canada’s Health Canada label warning.
Although the meetings between sales representatives and physicians are regulated by the FDA, the study raises concerns about the quality of the information the doctor receives before prescribing medicine to a patient. Dr. Tom Perry, an internal medicine and clinical pharmacology specialist at the UBC Hospital in Vancouver, was quoted in a National Post article, and stated “Doctors learn relatively little about drugs in medical school and much of their exposure to pharmacology after graduation may be in the form of advertising,” said Perry, who was not involved in the study. “If they are unaware of the potential harms from drugs they prescribe, patients inevitably suffer the consequences.”
If you have suffered severe side effects after taking a drug, you may be eligible to pursue a claim for compensation. To discuss your injury with the Burnetti, P.A. team, call 1-888-BURNETTI.