Worldwide drug expenditures have been one of the main concerns of health care managers, and its containment is one of the primary goals of health care authorities. The present study was conducted through a cross sectional survey in Pakistan during January to June, 2010 not only to find out the importance and influence of promotional tools used by pharmaceutical industry on prescribing behaviors of doctors/consultants, but to also establish comparison between doctors/consultants versus medical representatives and consultant versus doctors with an auxiliary of difference between local and multinational company’s representative. The study revealed that promotional tools are considered vital from doctors and medical representatives’ point of view. There exists significant difference in doctors and consultant’s perception for sponsorships and low value gifts, but no difference in scientific promotional tools. No significant difference exits in perception of medical representatives of multinational and local company representatives. The companies tried to come up as per expectations of doctors to build its reputation and good image by employing different promotional tools. The study also revealed that marketing managers, product managers, chief executive officers or any decision makers involved in budget allocations and making promotional strategy should not rely heavily on medical representative’s feedback as their perception is different from doctors/consultants about relevant importance of each promotional tool. The study will also help product managers and CEOs while allocating promotional budgets and developing promotional mix strategy, to gain maximum return out of investment. Detailed doctors’ demographics can further be researched as predictor for preferring any promotional tools.
Key words: Prescribing patterns, promotional tools, physicians, pharmaceutical industry.
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