Propagandas de medicamentos psicoativos: Análise das informações científicas
Alternative titlePsychoactive drug advertising: Analysis of scientific information
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Objective: According to the World Health Organization, medicinal drug promotion should be reliable, accurate, truthful, informative, balanced, up-to-date and capable of substantiation. The objective of the present study was to review psychoactive drug advertisements to physicians as for information consistency with the related references and accessibility of the cited references. Methods: Data was collected in the city of Araraquara, Southeastern Brazil, in 2005. There were collected and reviewed 152 drug advertisements, a total of 304 references. References were requested directly from pharmaceutical companies' customer services and searched in UNESP (Ibict, Athenas) and BIREME (SciELO, PubMed, free-access indexed journals) library network and CAPES journals. Advertisement statements were checked against references using content analysis. Results: Of all references cited in the advertisements studied, 66.7% were accessed. Of 639 promotional statements identified, 346 (54%) were analyzed. The analysis showed that 67.7% of promotional statements in the advertisements were consistent with their references, while the remaining was either partially consistent or inconsistent. Of the material analyzed, an average 2.5 (1-28) references was cited per advertisement. In the text body, there were identified 639 pieces of information clearly associated with at least one cited reference (average 3.5 pieces of information per advertisement). Conclusion: The study results evidenced difficult access to the references. Messages on efficacy, safety and cost, among others, are not always supported by scientific studies. There is a need for regulation changes and effective monitoring of drug promotional materials.