Patients place great trust in doctors and pharmacists to properly prescribe and dispense medicines. But health professionals receive little to no instruction on how to critically assess pharmaceutical marketing. Many of them underestimate the influence that industry marketing has on their prescribing and dispensing practices.

Health Action International has two guides to help with this. We also provide free workshops based on these guides for healthcare students and professionals, civil society representatives, policy-makers and others. The aim is to educate and empower participants to critically appraise pharmaceutical marketing, helping them make optimal treatment decisions for patients, or to advocate for, or make, sound medicines policy that puts patient health first. Learn more about our workshops here.

HAI also supports initiatives aimed at ensuring adequate education on pharmaceutical promotion in medical and pharmacy training curricula and enables discussion in this area.

Fact or Fiction? What Healthcare Professionals Need to Know about Pharmaceutical Marketing in the European Union
With a specific focus on pharmaceutical promotion in the European Union, this recently re-branded guide from Health Action International teaches students to identify and assess the methods used in pharmaceutical promotion activities, as well as their impact on clinical practice and public health. They also develop the ability to critically appraise pharmaceutical promotion activities in a way that safeguards access to medicines.

Download the guide

Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide
Published in collaboration with the World Health Organization in 2010, this book teaches students about the marketing techniques used by the pharmaceutical industry. It also equips them with skills to critically analyse pharmaceutical marketing and access better-quality, unbiased and independent information on medicines.

The guide is used widely around the world by faculties of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences and public health as a companion to the WHO’s Guide to Good Prescribing.

Download the guide