University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Office of Primary Care and Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program


Program in Wise Prescribing

The pharmaceutical industry spends:

  • Over $10 billion a year marketing to prescribers
  • Over $4 billion a year on advertising to consumers
  • Nearly twice as much money on marketing as on research and development

Pharmaceutical marketing has been shown to have a significant influence on prescribing. However, many clinicians are not aware of the this potential influence on their own prescribing behaviors and training on the pharmaceutical company-prescriber interactions has been identified as an area missing in medical education.

The Program in Wise Prescribing (PWP) has responded to these challenges by raising awareness about the role marketing has on prescribing practices. The PWP serves the community of Northern New England through educational workshops and innovative research examining factors that are associated with the practice of evidence-based, cost-effective, safe prescribing practices.

The PWP focuses on marketing as a significant source of bias in prescribing and helps participants consider how to reduce this bias in making treatment decisions.

Innovative and engaging teaching methods are at the heart of our program including:

  • Actors and video for demonstration of communication skills
  • Incognito standardized patients for workshop evaluation
  • Facilitative workshop style, rather than lecture format

The PWP complements our Academic Detailing Program. Academic detailing differs from the PWP since it focuses on a specific condition such as depression, and delivers information on the management of depression that is free of commercial bias. Together these two programs provide multifaceted support to clinicians as they consider therapeutic options with their patients.

The Program in Wise Prescribing was funded by the Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Grant Program in FY2009.


Peer-Reviewed Publications

Last modified January 09 2015 12:09 PM