A study of adherence of drug promotional literatures from various clinical specialties to the World Health Organization ethical criteria for drug promotion

Siri Hoovinahole, Ashwin Kamath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Doctors-prescribing practices are influenced by drug promotional activities. Studies have shown that drug promotional literatures (DPLs) do not conform to the established regulations in many countries. However, whether the non-conformance is more likely in a particular clinical specialty needs to be determined. The objective of our study was to assess the adherence of DPLs sampled from various clinical specialties to the World Health Organization (WHO) criteria for ethical drug promotion and determine the presence of any difference. Methodology: Thirty DPLs were collected from each of the five clinical specialty clinics (General Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics and Psychiatry) of a University Teaching Hospital. Each promotional literature was evaluated for adherence to the individual WHO ethical criteria's for drug promotion. Results: More than 80% of the promotional literatures from all the clinical specialties did not contain information on dosage modification, contraindications, precautions, adverse effects, drug interactions, drug over dosage, excipients, storage and shelf-life, and legal category of the drugs. Nearly 19.33% of the DPL were for vitamins, minerals, and nutritional supplements; 13.33% for antimicrobials and 10% for anti-anxiety medications. Conclusions: Our study shows that most of the DPLs across clinical specialties failed to adhere to many of the WHO criteria of ethical drug promotion. The information lacking in the DPLs is critical for rational decision making. Considering that these irregularities are present across clinical specialties, it is important to strengthen the regulations governing drug promotion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-41
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Negative Results
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery

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