FDA to Survey Healthcare Professionals on Prescription Drug Marketing

Regulatory NewsRegulatory News | 11 March 2019 |  By 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday announced it will go ahead with a survey of healthcare professionals (HCPs) on how they are impacted by prescription drug promotion aimed at a professional audience.
The announcement comes after the agency consulted on its plans for  the survey in March 2018 and follows two earlier surveys that looked at HCPs’ attitudes toward direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising. The survey will also include questions about HCPs’ knowledge of abuse-deterrent opioids.
FDA says it has updated the survey in response to comments received during the public consultation. Some of the changes include adding a new question to address other products that have an impact on the ongoing opioid crisis, such as non-opioid analgesics and medication-assisted treatments for opioid dependence.
“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. The goal is to query a representative sample of HCPs about their opinions of promotional materials and procedures targeted at HCPs, clinical trial design and knowledge, and FDA approval status,” FDA writes.
The survey, which will be conducted with WebMD’s Medscape subscriber network, will aim to recruit respondents from four different areas of practice, including 700 primary care physicians, 600 specialists, 350 nurse practitioners and 350 physician assistants.
According to FDA, past research has indicated that some promotional materials aimed at HCPs may not be well-understood and may potentially include misleading information.
“Although HCPs are learned intermediaries, like most people, they may rely on heuristics, or rule of thumb, in making decisions and may have cognitive biases in the type of information they attend to at any given time. They may be persuaded by strong statements and may not have the time to ascertain accuracy of such information,” FDA writes.
Federal Register Notice


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