Pratit P. Vyas, Amol L. Bhave


Background: The study was aimed to critically analyse Drug Promotional Literatures (DPLs) using WHO guidelines. This would help to create awareness about DPLs amongst healthcare providers thus encouraging the improvement of healthcare system.

Methods: This cross sectional observational study was carried out at Department of Pharmacology, Medical College Baroda. DPLs were collected & critically analysed for consistency, accuracy, validity of the provided information as per WHO guidelines.

Results: Out of total 616 DPLs collected, 371 satisfied the inclusion criteria. None of the DPL was fulfilling all criteria according to WHO guidelines. Most of DPLs were having information regarding; generic name / INN (98.39%), brand name (100%), amount of active ingredient per dosage (94.07%), approved therapeutic uses (84.91%), dosage form (91.37%) and name & address of manufacturers (91.91%). Of all the DPLs, information provided for safety parameters like; name of active ingredient known to cause problem (11.59%), dosage regimen (32.88%), side effects & drug reaction (14.56%), major drug interactions (14.02%) and precautions, contraindications and warning (14.29%) seemed to be grossly neglected. Total of 431 claims were evaluated, of which the most common type of claim was efficacy (55.45%). Relevant references to claims were present in (48.74%) DPLs. Total 203 references were evaluated from 371 DPLs, of which maximum reference were from journal article (74.38%).

Conclusions: From this study, it was concluded that pharmaceutical companies didn’t follow the WHO guidelines for ethical drug promotion, thus failing to fulfil the rational promotion of drugs. Given the present findings physicians should be cautious about drawing conclusions regarding medicine based on DPLs provided by pharmaceutical companies.

Read the full text here! WHO Guidelines