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July 17, 1981

Little behavior change from PPIs, drug substitution laws

JAMA. 1981;246(3):203-204. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320030005005

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Expectations that behavioral change will result from new policies or laws concerning prescription drug use may be unwarranted.

For example, many believe that the provision of drug information in the form of a patient package insert (PPI) will inevitably lead to safer, more discriminating, or even more cost-conscious drug use.

This may not be so. As Seymour Fisher, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, told a national prescribing conference at New York's Mount Sinai Medical School, even if patients read PPIs—which is not certain—they are unlikely to remember the information for very long, and even less likely to act upon it.

The study was based on an evaluation, begun in 1979, of the impact of an experimental PPI given to patients for whom diazepam was prescribed. The PPI, written in nontechnical language in English on one side and Spanish on