HAI Europe is committed to ensuring that information about prescription medicines comes from independent sources and not from commercial entities. Prescription medicines treat conditions that require the expertise and supervision of qualifies healthcare professionals. Since pharmaceutical promotion may influence how doctors and pharmacists choose to prescribe and dispense medicines this may lead to sub-optimal treatment choices, damaging public health and escalating health care costs. Although the influence of pharmaceutical promotion starts early in medical and pharmacy students’ training, these students receive little to no instruction on how to assess promotion. To address this need, HAI and WHO published a manual as an educational tool that medicine and pharmacy schools can use to train students how to recognise and respond to pharmaceutical promotion before they start prescribing and dispensing medicines.
The Manual ‘Understanding and responding to pharmaceutical promotion: A practical guide’ is available in English, French, Spanish or Russian. Instructors and students that have used the manual in class are encouraged to download and submit an evaluation form in English, French or Spanish.
You can download the manual and evaluation forms from the HAI website: www.haiglobal.org
Since promotion can be seen as ‘information to the public’ we also monitor the regulations that prohibit advertising and that govern medicines information in order to prevent EU policy changes allowing promotional messages in the lay media about prescription medicines.
Our work under the theme of rational use of medicines also encompasses medicines safety: we believe that medicines that cause serious adverse drug reactions (ADRs) should be re-evaluated or removed from the market to protect patients. Each patient is a unique medicines user with distinctive characteristics and lifestyle. As medicines are tested on a relatively small number of people before they are approved for use by the wider population, previously undetected reactions can emerge. HAI Europe promotes greater patient involvement in the reporting of ADRs so that harmful or ineffective medicines are identified more quickly, thereby reducing the threat to public health.