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Medical News & Perspectives
March 16, 2011

New “Law” Attempts to Explain Strategies Drug Marketers Use to Sway Prescribing

JAMA. 2011;305(11):1083-1084. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.285

Two researchers are proposing a “pharmaceutical inverse benefit law,” a heuristic device to help physicians understand how pharmaceutical marketing affects their decision-making process when prescribing medications.

The authors' proposed law came about following recent highly publicized withdrawals of certain drugs from the market due to safety concerns. The law states that the benefit-to-harm ratio of drugs tends to vary inversely with how aggressively the drugs are marketed (Brody H and Light DW. Am J Public Health. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2010.199844 [published online ahead of print January 13, 2011]). The law was inspired by Hart's inverse care law, itself inspired by the inverse square law of physics.

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