With more than $20 billion in pharmaceutical marketing to physicians in 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explained earlier this week how it will survey doctors on how such promotions impact their understanding of clinical trial data and how FDA approvals of new products translate into practice.
Recruited online through WebMD's Medscape subscriber network, FDA proposes to survey 700 primary care physicians, 600 specialists, 350 nurse practitioners and 350 physician assistants. Providers will be included if they see patients at least 50% of the time, and FDA said both Doctors of Medicine and Doctors of Osteopathy will be included.
The survey will build off previous FDA surveys from 2002 and 2013 on physicians’ attitudes toward direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising and its role in their relationships with their patients.
“Whereas the focus of both previous FDA surveys was on DTC advertising and promotion, the current study is designed to address issues related to professional prescription drug promotion,” FDA said. “The goal is to query a representative sample of health care professionals (HCPs) about their opinions of promotional materials and procedures targeted at HCPs, clinical trial design and knowledge, and FDA approval status. We will also take this opportunity to ask HCPs briefly about their knowledge of abuse-deterrent formulations for opioid products.”
And unlike the previous surveys on DTC advertising, this latest survey will deal with a variety of pharmaceutical promotional materials, including communication with pharmaceutical representatives, journal ads, prescribing software, presentations at sponsored meetings and direct mail ads.
FDA said the general research questions in the survey will include:
“1. What methods and/or channels are used to disseminate prescription drug promotional information to health care professionals/prescribers?
2. How knowledgeable and interested are HCPs in clinical trial data and its presence in prescription drug promotion?
3. How familiar are HCPs with the FDA approval of prescription drugs and how does this translate into practice?”
Earlier this week, FDA also laid out
other research plans on prescription drug advertising and promotion.