General practitioners’ prescriptions earned manufacturers about £1000m in 1981. Under an agreement with the DHSS the industry spends up to about 10% of its turnover on promotion.1 Over a third of this is spent on about 3500 representatives (‘reps’ to most of us!) who direct their activities mainly to the country’s 29,000 GPs, responsible for over 80% of all prescribing. Good representatives seem to provide the form of drug promotion most acceptable to doctors2 though some doctors refuse to see any at all.
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