Doctors' views on the quality of claims provided by pharmaceutical representatives: A comparative study in Malaysia and Australia

Noordin Othman, Agnes I. Vitry, Elizabeth E. Roughead, Shaiful B. Ismail, Khairani Omar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives Doctors perceive the interactions with pharmaceutical representatives as professionally appropriate. However, studies have shown that the interaction is associated with less rational prescribing of medications. No previous study has assessed doctors' opinions of the presentation of pharmaceutical representatives and the quality of claims provided to the doctors in Australia and Malaysia. The aim of this study was to compare the opinions of Australian and Malaysian doctors of sales explanations and quality of claims provided by the pharmaceutical representatives. Methods We recruited samples of primary care doctors in Australia and Malaysia to evaluate pharmaceutical sales visits. After a visit, doctors were asked to fill out a questionnaire on the main product and claims discussed during the visit. Descriptive statistics were employed, and Chi-square analysis and clustered linear regression were used to assess differences between doctors from both countries. Results The majority of doctors reported that the presentations were convincing as well as likely to change their prescribing habits and improved their knowledge. The majority of marketing claims recorded by doctors in Australia and Malaysia were classified as vague claims. Approximately one-third of the claims were unambiguous (Australia 31% and Malaysia 33%). In a majority of the presentations (Australia, 65%, Malaysia, 84%), doctors indicated that the primary claims by the pharmaceutical representatives were entirely or nearly accurate. Conclusions Doctors in Australia and Malaysia held generally positive views of the presentations of pharmaceutical representatives, although the information being presented varied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-480
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Taibah University Medical Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • Claims
  • Malaysia
  • Pharmaceutical representatives
  • Promotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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