Pharmaceutical promotion in Canada is controlled by two codes: a voluntary one developed by the Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board dealing mostly with printed promotional material, and one from the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Canada covering other forms of promotion. This article looks at enforcement of the provisions of these codes and at areas in which they are deficient. One of the major weaknesses in both codes is their lack of effective sanctions for companies that violate their provisions. Strong codes are necessary because many physicians rely heavily on promotional material for their source of prescribing information. However, voluntary codes or codes developed by the industry are inherently weak and lack effective enforcement mechanisms. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently very active in curtailing promotional excesses, government control is not the solution since regulatory action will depend on the ideological position of the head of the regulatory body and/or the party in power. An independent body backed by legislative authority is preferable.
The aim of this follow-up study was to examine whether the legislative changes that took place in Finland in 2004 had an impact on the interactions between pharmaceutical companies and medical students. According to a previous survey, information provided by pharmaceutical companies represented one of the most important sources of information on pharmaceutical products for medical students and students frequently attended promotional events.
The authors collected the survey data using questionnaires distributed to medical students in Finland's five medical departments in spring 2005. A total of 1523 students (44% of all medical students in Finland) responded to the questionnaire. Results were compared with the findings of a previous study conducted in 2000.
We found a dramatic drop in how often students attended promotions given by pharmaceutical company representatives (PCRs), with 17% versus 68% of students in the clinical phase of study attending at least twice a month (P
Development of information society engenders the problem of hygienic regulation of information load for the population, first of all for vulnerable groups. There are presented international and Russian normative legal documents and experience in this area, there are described the negative effects of information (such as stress, depression, suicidal ideations). There are considered social-psychological characteristics of vulnerable groups that requires their best protection from loads of information, doing harm, particularly in terms of reproductive health, family relationships, children, etc. There was noted the desirability of improvement of sanitary, legislation on the regulation of the information load on the population, especially in vulnerable groups, in terms of optimization of parameters of the signal-carriers on volume, brightness and the adequacy of the volume and content of information in radio and television broadcasting, in an urban environment and at the plant to preserve the health and well-being of the population.
Traditionally in Canada, there are three health and safety rights: the right to participate (joint workplace health and safety committees); the right to refuse unsafe and unhealthy work; and the right to know about workplace hazards. By the end of the 1970s, the right to know had been established in law across Canada, but it was not enough to cover workplace chemical hazards in particular. The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) was a project set up by the Canadian federal government in 1982 to address the issue. This article tells the story of how labor got the progressive WHMIS agreement(1985) and how the agreement has been implemented in the following years.
The privacy of health information is a subject of great sensitivity in both Canada and the United States. As a result of public demands for more effective protection of such information as medical records, Canada and, particularly, its provincial governments, have implemented extensive legislation. The United States, on the other hand, has largely confined its efforts to private sector initiatives that are more reflective of voluntary codes than legal statutes. Because new technologic developments facilitate data sharing in the medical field, especially in the face of a continual reduction of healthcare budgets, the concern for privacy protection in this domain has intensified. Correspondingly, there has been a gradual theoretical shift in protective health information policies on both sides of the border. As Canada pushes to extend its federal and provincial legislation to the private sector, the United States is on the brink of approving a national bill that would protect the privacy of personal medical records. It is becoming evident that efforts to secure the privacy of health information in both countries are converging.
Drug advertisements affect the practice and continuous education of physicians. We assessed whether drug advertisements in Norway were in accordance with national regulations in the field.
All drug advertisements received by three general practitioners during a period of three months were collected. One advertisement for each of the 50 pharmaceutical products most frequently advertised was reviewed, available references obtained, and the information evaluated in relation to Norwegian regulations.
A total of 294 advertisements for 77 different products were reviewed. The 50 chosen advertisements contained 191 reference citations, of which 93% were retrieved. The originator of the advertisement in question provided 72% of the references we asked for. We identified 262 promotional claims for which the regulations require a reference citation. Of these, 135 (52%) did not comply with the regulations, including 15 (6%) that were false.
Only half of the information presented in drug advertisements was correct and clinically relevant. Relatively few statements were false, but a considerable proportion of statements gave an excessively positive picture of the product; hence, in general, this kind of information has no value as a source of information.
Comment In: Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2006 Aug 10;126(15):1946; author reply 1946-716915329