Dr Barbara Mintzes is a research scientist specialising in the study of pharmaceutical policy. Her research focuses on the effects of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs and other forms of pharmaceutical promotion on the prescribing and use of medicines. She also performs systematic reviews of clinical trial evidence regarding the health effects of medicines, including both benefit and harm, in terms of outcomes of importance to patients’ health. Dr Mintzes has has a doctorate in Health Care and Epidemiology and was Associate Professor at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada prior to joining the University of Sydney in April 2015. At UBC, she worked with the Therapeutics Initiative, a research group that evaluates new drugs as a background to provincial reimbursement decisions and produces an educational bulletin on drug treatments. Currently, she is the lead investigator on an international comparative study examining the influence of national regulations on the amount of safety information that pharmaceutical sales representatives provide to primary care physicians. Dr Mintzes was a lead member of an international WHO and Health Action International (HAI) project that involved developing an educational manual on drug promotion, for pharmacy and medical students. This manual has been translated into Spanish, Russian and French, and incorporated into education curricula in a range of settings. Dr Mintzes maintains strong community engagement, having worked for many years with women’s health and consumer groups, including DES (diethylstilbestrol) Action Canada, and Women and Health Protection (a Canadian non-profit organization). She co-authored the book “Sex, Lies and Pharmaceuticals” with Ray Moynihan, published in 2010.
If a drug company treats a doctor to a nice lunch and a presentation on their newest products, is prescribing affected? Doctors generally think not, but the research evidence overwhelmingly says yes. And if these events do...