Pharmaceutical advertisements in prescribing software: An analysis

Ken J. Harvey, Agnes I. Vitry, Elizabeth Roughead, Rosalie Aroni, Nicola Ballenden, Ralph Faggoter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To assess pharmaceutical advertisements in prescribing software, their adherence to code standards, and the opinions of general practitioners regarding the advertisements. Design, setting and participants: Content analysis of advertisements displayed by Medical Director version 2.81 (Health Communication Network, Sydney, NSW) in early 2005; thematic analysis of a debate on this topic held on the General Practice Computer Group email forum (GPCG_talk) during December 2004. Outcome measures: Placement, frequency and type of advertisements; their compliance with the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct, and the views of GPs. Results: 24 clinical functions in Medical Director contained advertisements. These included 79 different advertisements for 41 prescription products marketed by 17 companies, including one generic manufacturer. 57 of 60 (95%) advertisements making a promotional claim appeared noncompliant with one or more requirements of the Code. 29 contributors, primarily GPs, posted 174 emails to GPCG_talk; there was little support for these advertisements, but some concern that the price of software would increase if they were removed. Conclusions: We suggest that pharmaceutical promotion in prescribing software should be banned, and inclusion of independent therapeutic information be mandated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-79
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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