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Misleading drug advertising encourages drug consumerism rather than rational use of drugs. To add to the problem, developing countries lack a strong system to keep a check on such activities.[1,2] We have analyzed the authenticity of information provided in the form of promotional literature in India. The study was conducted in Sangli (Maharashtra). Promotional literature for the study was collected from general practitioners and specialists. These were exposed to a primary screening process and only those promoting modern (allopathic) medicine and making at least one therapeutic claim were included in the study. Authenticity of therapeutic claims made in promotional literature was verified by accessing standard literature through internet databases like Medline and Cochrane reviews, standard text books and peer reviewed journals. Subsequently, the claims were classified as-
A total of 134 promotional leaflets given to medical practitioners were collected. Out of these, 102 satisfied the inclusion criteria and were subjected to analysis. The analysis showed that as many as 20% of the claims were exaggerated, 32% were inconclusive, 17% were false and only 21% were authentic. In 10% of the leaflets, original data from literature was misrepresented to suit the therapeutic claims made. Since a complete report of all these claims is beyond the scope of this article, a few examples are shown in Table 1. The results of other studies conducted worldwide, especially in the developing countries are in concordance with the present study.[2,3] To conclude, there is still an unmet need for dispersal of unbiased information to the prescribers. We also conclude that the promotional literature continues to be far from educational. We emphasize the need to inculcate the art of critical appraisal amongst medical practitioners, so that they may derive the best from the information made available to them in the form of promotional literature.