The effect of advertising in clinical software on general practitioners’ prescribing behaviour

James F Reeve, Judith M Mackson, Michelle Sweidan and Margaret Williamson
Med J Aust 2008; 189 (2): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2008.tb01923.x
Published online: 21 July 2008

To the Editor: The observational study by Henderson and colleagues1 is important, as it is the first to look at the effect of advertising in clinical software on prescribing behaviour in Australia. However, the stated conclusion — that “exposure to advertisements in clinical software has little influence on the prescribing behaviour of [general practitioners]” — requires qualification, as there were potentially important confounders including the effects of other forms of pharmaceutical promotion that were not evaluated.

  • Pharmaceutical Decision Support Program, National Prescribing Service Limited, Sydney, NSW.


Competing interests:

The National Prescribing Service develops and maintains decision support prompts in several GP clinical software packages to alert GPs to independent, evidence-based drug information for new drugs (NPS RADAR).

  • 1. Henderson J, Miller G, Pan Y, Britt H. The effect of advertising in clinical software on general practitioners’ prescribing behaviour. Med J Aust 2008; 188: 15-20. <MJA full text>
  • 2. Lidstone J, Collier T. Marketing planning for the pharmaceutical industry. Aldershot, UK: Gower, 1987.
  • 3. Grol R, Grimshaw J. From best evidence to best practice: effective implementation of change in patients’ care. Lancet 2003; 362: 1225-1230.
  • 4. Shea S, DuMouchel W, Bahamonde L. A meta-analysis of 16 randomized controlled trials to evaluate computer-based clinical reminder systems for preventative care in the ambulatory setting. J Am Med Inform Assoc 1996; 3: 399-409.
  • 5. Garg AX, Adhikari NK, McDonald H, et al. Effects of computerized clinical decision support systems on practitioner performance and patient outcomes: a systematic review. JAMA 2005; 293: 1223-1238.


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