A new campaign to ban pharmaceutical representatives from visiting doctors has been labelled “patronising” and “naïve” by a senior AMA leader.
Launched on Saturday, the ‘No Advertising Please’ (NAP) campaign is part of a wider national initiative that aims to reduce the prescription of medications in inappropriate and potentially harmful ways.
More than 100 Australian doctors have already signed the pledge, available on the NAP website.
In response, AMA Council of General Practice chair Dr Brian Morton has criticised the campaign, calling it “misguided” and “potentially damaging”.
Doctors were capable of filtering advice from a range of sources, and meetings with pharmaceutical company representatives were a two-way process, Dr Morton said on Friday.
"I think it's very patronising," he told AAP.
"They're bringing the profession into disrepute by implying that we're naive. We take the rep on as to the honesty or the accuracy of their statements, and then compare them with what another rep has told us.
"It's not bland acceptance of what's been said to you, it's critical scrutiny of what they're marketing."
Medicines Australia also voiced criticism over the campaign, stating that the disruption of medicine information could lead to the risk of poorer patient outcomes.
Dr Martin Cross, chairman of Medicines Australia, said that the campaign implied a “very low regard” for doctors’ ability to clinically assess and prescribe the most suitable treatment for their patients.
“By barring contact with company representatives, it would be like having open heart surgery knowing that the surgeon hasn’t been taught how to use the equipment by the people that made it,” Dr Cross said.
“The fact is, there is no-one that knows more about a medicine than the company that has researched the medicine for over 12 years before it is approved to be prescribed by Australian GPs."
However, the Consumer’s Health Forum (CHF) has publically supported the NAP campaign on the grounds that patients would benefit from unbiased medical advice from their doctor.