To the Editor.—
The recent article by Schaffner et al1 appears to indicate that the physicians in the study had a greater influence on prescribing behavior than did the pharmacist. However, there may be an unrecognized source of bias in this study that could have influenced the results.The physician counselors were described in part as "senior physicians in part-time practice." The pharmacist drug educator was described as "a recent honors pharmacy graduate."Since the educational visit lasted less than 15 minutes, it seems reasonable that factors such as physical appearance had a role in the influence of the interventions. The physicians must have differed markedly in physical appearance from the pharmacist. The physician counselors surely had the appearance of clinicians with many years of experience. On the other hand, the pharmacist must have appeared still "wet behind the ears" with very little clinical experience because of his youth.
Moore RA. Influences on Prescribing Practices. JAMA. 1984;252(7):898. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350070016007
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