Are Drug Safety Advisories Compatible with Physicians’ Information Behavior? Semi-Structured Interviews with General Practitioners about Direct to Healthcare Professional Communication

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Physicians critically depend on up-to-date risk information when prescribing drugs, but they typically have little time to navigate the vast information. In the European Union, Direct to Healthcare Professional Communications (DHPC) letters are distributed to physicians to mitigate drug risks that emerge after market approval, but the letters show low impact. This study characterizes general practitioners’ (GPs) information behaviour regarding drug safety and assesses the compatibility of DHPCs with the identified information behaviour. We conducted 17 semi-structured interviews and four follow-up interviews with Danish GPs about safety concerns and analysed them using Wilson’s model of information behaviour. We found that GPs primarily use an online drug monograph for point-of-care information needs and a newsletter from the authorities for clinical management strategies. They generally did not consider DHPCs a useful source of information. GPs argued that numerous sources contained the same information as the DHPC and believed these to be superior in terms of convenience, clinical relevance and quality of evidence. A new digital mode of DHPC delivery from a public authority may improve the general adoption but also generated new problems. Overall, this suggests that DHPCs in their current form are not very compatible with information behaviour of GPs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Health Communication
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1-17
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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