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“Academic drug-detailing”: from project to practice in a Swedish urban area


Objectives: To develop and test the long-term feasibility of an interdisciplinary independent drug information service providing both written and oral drug information to physicians in an urban area of Sweden (>400 000 inhabitants).

Methods: A drug information service was developed encouraging a cooperative approach between a department of clinical pharmacology, general practitioners (GPs), pharmacists, and Drug and Therapeutic Committees. Scientifically-based drug information was condensed and interpreted by a team and presented in both written and oral form. In one part of the area, both oral and written information was provided, while in another part of the area, only written information was distributed. Questionnaires and one prescription survey were performed to elucidate the knowledge and attitudes of the GPs regarding drug treatment of one condition (urinary tract infection, UTI, and norfloxacin were used as examples), as well as their opinion of our services.

Results: Over a period of 10 years, 75 issues of a drug bulletin (2000 copies) were distributed. Oral, producer-independent drug information, provided jointly by a GP and a pharmacist, was given on 16 occasions in each of 30 health centres (150 GPs). Around 80% of the GPs participated in the meetings. Of these GPs, 75% found the service important for their daily work. A majority of the GPs had prescribed the test drug, norfloxacin, not a first-line drug according to local recommendations, 1 year after approval. A significantly lower proportion of prescribers were observed in the area where the GPs had been provided with both written and oral information regarding recommended treatment (including first-line drugs) for uncomplicated cystitis. The approximate cost for this service in 1995 was SEK 0.685 million (USD 0.1 million); the prescribing costs of the 150 GPs were estimated at SEK 255 million per year. This means that the cost of the service per GP is only around 0.3% of normal prescribing costs.

Conclusion: Over a period of 10 years the information/education method described here has proven sustainable and feasible in terms of providing the information, regarding participation of the target group GPs in the oral sessions, and regarding integration of the service into the existing health care system.

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Received: 24 June 1996 / Accepted in revised form: 27 December 1996

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Lundborg, C., Hensjö, LO., Gustafsson, L. et al. “Academic drug-detailing”: from project to practice in a Swedish urban area. E J Clin Pharmacol 52, 167–172 (1997).

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  • Key words Drug information service; clinical pharma cology
  • general practice
  • pharmacists
  • urinary tract infection
  • “academic drug-detailing”