A survey of pharmaceutical company representative interactions with doctors in Libya
Objectives: To examine the frequency of pharmaceutical company representative (PCR) interactions with doctors in Libya and review possible associations between these interactions and the personal and practice setting characteristics of doctors.
Method: An anonymous survey questionnaire was circulated to 1,000 Libyan doctors in selected public and private practice settings in Tripoli, Benghazi and Sebha.
Results: A questionnaire return rate of 61% (608 returned questionnaires) was achieved. Most respondents (94%) reported that they had been visited by PCRs at least ‘once’ in the last year. Fifty per cent of respondents met with PCRs at least once a month, and 20% at least once a week. The following characteristics were significantly associated with meeting with a representative more than once a week: age, gender (malefemale), years of practice, being a specialist (other than an anaesthesiologist) or working in private practice. Ninety-one per cent of doctors reported that they had received at least one kind of relationship gift during the last year. Printed materials (79%), simple gifts (73%) and drug samples (69%) were the most common relationship products given to respondents. Reimbursements or sponsored items were reported by 33% of respondents. Physician specialists were more likely to receive drug samples or sponsored items than residents, general practitioners, anaesthesiologists or surgeons (PB0.01). Participants working in private practice alone or in both sectors were more likely to receive printed materials, simple gifts or free samples from PCRs than doctors working in the public sector (PB0.05).
Conclusion: Libyan doctors are frequently visited by PCRs. Doctors, working in private practice or specialist practice, are especially targeted by promotional activities. An agreed code of conduct for pharmaceutical promotion in Libya between doctors and PCRs should be created.
Keywords: pharmaceutical promotion; gift giving; pharmaceutical representative visits