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Critical Evaluation of Drug Advertisements in a Medical College in Lalitpur, Nepal

Authors Jha N, Sapkota Y, Shankar PR

Received 29 April 2020

Accepted for publication 15 July 2020

Published 29 July 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 717—725


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Video abstract presented by Yunima Sapkota.

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Nisha Jha,1 Yunima Sapkota,2 Pathiyil Ravi Shankar3

1Department of Pharmacology, KIST Medical College, Gwarko, Lalitpur, Nepal; 2Department of Pharmacy, Central Institute of Science and Technology, Baneshwor, Nepal; 3Department of Basic Sciences, Oceania University of Medicine, Apia, Samoa

Correspondence: Nisha Jha Email [email protected]

Purpose: The information provided in drug advertisements (DAs) often do not follow the recommended criteria and may promote irrational prescribing behaviors. Recently Health Action International (HAI) formulated detailed criteria to evaluate DAs which further develop and expand on the World Health Organization (WHO) criteria. This study was done to evaluate DAs using both criteria.
Methods: The study was carried out from October 2019 to January 2020 in the Department of Pharmacology of KIST Medical College, Lalitpur, Nepal. A structured proforma was used to collect data.
Results: Altogether 100 DAs were analyzed. Maximum (85%) were having pictorial presentations. Majority (89%) were found to have authentic information and 3% were found to have exaggerated information. All DAs mentioned generic name, brand name, active drug per dosage form and approved therapeutic uses. Only 4% of DAs mentioned about the adverse effects that can be caused by the use of these medicines. The DAs evaluated as per the HAI criteria for pictures and images showed that people portrayed did not seem to be Nepalese. Females and males were portrayed differently with females being laypersons and males being healthcare professionals. Nineteen DAs contained 33 references to scientific literature. Thirty references contained adequate citation information to be identified and were retrievable. Retrieved references were of high methodological quality and from peer-reviewed journals. There was only one graph in the DAs and it contained the number needed to treat (NNT) information. The graph was not having statistical calculations and was not obscured by other visual material.
Conclusion: Using both HAI and WHO criteria for assessing the DAs was the strength of this study. None of the DAs fulfilled all the criteria. Additionally, lack of any information on harm in the large majority of DAs, and very limited backing of claims with references was also seen.

Keywords: drug advertisements, ethical criteria, evaluation, health action international, Nepal

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