Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Do drug company promotions impact clinical outcomes? Is there a way to know? Does anybody want to know?

My recent post on the effects of drug industry marketing drew a difficult and insightful question: “RW, how do you propose to measure patient outcomes?”
Can outcome based research be done, or must surrogate evidence suffice? Perhaps patient outcomes in a health care setting (a clinic, an academic medical service, an HMO, or a hospital) could be measured before and after implementation of a “no sample” or a “no drug rep” policy. Is there precedent for this type of study? Yes. There are numerous examples of health system, health care environment, and cultural changes that have been studied for their effects on outcomes including the adoption of heart failure multidisciplinary management programs [2]

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