An evaluation of the promotional factors influencing general practitioners' prescribing behaviour, primarily the pharmaceutical representative.
Generally the pharmaceutical industry operates in a heavily regulated and controlled environment. In South Africa, the regulations governing prescription drugs do not allow the pharmaceutical companies to advertise the prescription drugs directly to the consumers. As a consequence, the greater part of the marketing efforts of the pharmaceutical companies is directed at the medical practitioners, who occupy the crucial decision-making position for the prescription drugs. The study broadly investigates the relative influence of the various promotional factors that may influence the General Practitioner's choice of prescription drug and more specifically, focuses on the characteristics of the pharmaceutical sales representatives that may influence the prescribing behaviour of the General Practitioners. An area sample of 67 general practitioners in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, was carried out. A total of 58 responses were analysed to determine the perceived influence of various factors on the GPs' choice of new and existing prescription drugs. A specific attempt was made to determine the key influential factors with respect to the promotion by the pharmaceutical representatives and GPs' appreciation of basic statistics used in the presentations by the pharmaceutical representatives.