Sources of information for new drugs among physicians in Thailand
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To determine the sources and the types of information about new drugs that Thai doctors at a teaching hospital perceived as important before prescribing and to assess their views on their preferred sources of drug information.
There were two phases of this study, the quantitative and the qualitative components. For the quantitative study, a descriptive survey using a self-reported questionnaire was mailed. The qualitative component consisted of face-to-face interviews using a semi-structured questionnaire.
Main outcomes measure
The initial sources of information about new drugs; the reliability scores for each source of information; the types of information that doctors required before prescribing new drugs; and the prescribers’ views on their preferred sources.
The general findings regarding the doctors’ information sources on new drugs were consistent in both the quantitative and qualitative analyses. Conferences, medical journals, and meetings with medical representatives were the initial sources of information for new drugs. Safety and efficacy profiles of new drugs were the most common types of information considered before prescribing new medicines. Although the medical representatives were viewed as very efficient in providing information about new drugs, the interviewees perceived that the information obtained from the persons employed by the pharmaceutical companies was likely to be biased. Consequently, the physicians preferred to have an unbiased resource person who could proactively provide two-sided information for both existing and new drugs at the hospital.
The information sources on new drugs most frequently used by the physicians include scientific conferences, journals and medical representatives and they yearn for unbiased information regarding safety and efficacy of the promoted drugs before prescribing the new medicines. Thus, there is a window of opportunity for hospital pharmacists to serve the unmet needs of the physicians.
KeywordsDrug information Pharmacists Physicians Prescribing Thailand
We acknowledge the tremendous efforts of our research assistants Kacha Kanyalong and Juthamart Suwatthanabunpot in this project. In addition, we thank Dr. Jeff Johns, Cliff Layton as well as the journal reviewers for their helpful comments in contribution to this paper. More importantly, we truly appreciated all the respondents for their generosity and valuable time in sharing their views in this study.
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