Prescribers’ and Organizational Leaders’ Preferences for Education about Heavily Marketed Drugs


David W Price, MD, FAAFP; Marsha A Raebel, PharmD; Douglas A Conner, PhD; Leslie A Wright, MA

Spring 2008 - Volume 12 Number 2


Objective: We conducted a study to assess the educational needs and interests of medication prescribers and organizational needs regarding heavily marketed drugs.

Study design: We used an Internet and paper-based educational needs assessment survey to gather data.

Methods: Approximately 1000 Denver-area Kaiser Permanente Colorado (KPCO) physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants ("health maintenance organization [HMO] prescribers"); 780 Colorado Springs KPCO network (preferred provider organization [PPO] prescribers); and 36 Denver-area KPCO pharmacy leaders were surveyed. Prescribers were asked about interest in pharmaceutical development, approval, and marketing processes and interest in learning about accessing and using drug information in practice. They were also asked to identify areas in which they would like to improve prescribing practices. Organizational leaders were asked about areas in which curricula could assist current cost-effective prescribing efforts. HMO prescriber and leader surveys were conducted via the Internet. PPO learner surveys were conducted by mail.

Results: Responses were collected from 127 (13%) HMO and 70 (9%) PPO prescribers. Top interest areas in both groups were accessing unbiased drug information, comparing evidence about drugs within class, critical appraisal of drug information, off-label drug use, and addressing patient medication inquiries. Pharmaceutical industry marketing practices, roles and responsibilities of the US Food and Drug Administration, and the US drug development and approval process were rated lowest. HMO prescribers most wanted to improve prescribing for bacterial infections, depression, and diabetes; PPO prescribers also wanted to improve prescribing for migraine headaches. Highest organizational priority drug classes were those for depression and asthma.

Conclusions: Prescribers are interested in areas of pharmaceutical development and marketing that relate closely to providing patient care, especially in commonly seen clinical conditions. They are less interested in regulatory or policy aspects of the process.


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