"Counter-detailers" offer drug info alternative

Any practicing physician is familiar--perhaps too much so!--with the attractive, likeable marketers pharmaceutical companies send to their offices to pitch new products. Critics argue that far too much of the prescribing process is influenced by these so-called detailers, whose visits may push doctors to opt for expensive new drugs over older, cheaper meds which work just as well. Frustrated by the situation, these critics have begun to send out their own marketers, known by some as "counter-detailers," to combat what they see as pharmaceutical company propaganda.

For example, Brigham and Women's Hospital is sending out its own reps, some former drug detailers, to offer information on which drugs work best. Brigham and Women's effort is funded by a $1 million grant from the Department of Aging of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Brigham and Women's team of 10 consultants has visited about 500 Pennsylvania practitioners, armed with talking points from Harvard instructors and internists. The idea is to substitute hard science for marketing hype, supporters say. Early results from the program at Brigham and Women's suggest that the counter-detailers are influencing physicians' prescribing choices.

To learn more about the counter-detailer trend:
- read this article from The Boston Globe

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