New drug education

Medicine And Technology: “We have seen so many new drugs and even new classes of drugs emerge over the last ten years. How do most physicians learn about new drugs? Many (certainly not all) community practitioners would say they learn what they need to know from the drug reps. Others indicate continuing medical education or CME activities as their main source of information regarding new drugs. Back in the “old days,” docs would also attend many promotional/marketing dinners and social functions to learn about new medications. Those days are ending as PhRMA code regulations get stricter. So what is the most effective way for physicians to learn about new drugs? They are so busy and easily overwhelmed by their workload that many have a difficult time keeping up with the latest science, the latest medical news, or even urgent FDA alerts and warnings.” – Any healthcare practitioner should be leery of using “drug-reps” or marketing dinners to educate themselves about new drug therapy. Remember, drug-reps are in it for the sales. In most cases they are not even healthcare professionals; pharmacist, nurse, physician. There are few truly unique breakthroughs in drug therapy each year and even fewer turn out to live up to expectations. Several years may be necessary to properly evaluate a medication’s place in therapy. I never understood the bandwagon approach to medication therapy, it’s irresponsible. Information on new drug therapy should come from primary literature or other reputable sources, such as the Pharmacist Letter, the Medical Letter, or from practice guidelines developed by professional organizations like the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) and the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP). Heck, this would be a good place to start reducing the cost of healthcare as many new “me too” medications with no proven benefit are often significantly more costly than their evidence-based counterpart. Why isn’t anyone talking about that?

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