After years of reducing their contact with pharmaceutical sales representatives, healthcare providers and their patients now face unintended consequences. According to a new study, practitioners who rarely meet with pharma reps — or who do not meet with them at all — are much slower to stop prescribing medicines with “black box” warnings and to adopt first-in-class therapies that may benefit patients. Concerns about undue pharmaceutical industry influence may be driving clinical practice in the wrong direction.
According to the study, published May 21, 2012, in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, clinicians whose access to pharmaceutical sales representatives is limited can take more than 4 times longer to change prescribing practices based on new information than their peers who have more frequent contact [Chressanthis et al. 2012]. And, this longer response time holds true whether the physicians are responding to “positive news” related to an innovative therapy or “negative news” related to a newly discovered medicine risk.