Just over half (106) of the 200 GPs polled recalled seeing, hearing or reading something about Xenical, a prescription-only weight-loss medication, in the past three months.
Medical journal ads were cited as the most common source of their information, with 45 per cent of the 106 GPs having seen an ad.
Other sources were sales reps (30 per cent), comments from a GP colleague or patient (24 per cent), medical journal articles (20 per cent) and articles in non-medical media (nine per cent).
Almost two thirds of doctors (63 per cent) regarded Xenical messages as generally positive – although five per cent saw them as negative.
Four per cent of GPs aware of the messages said they had started to prescribe the drug, while 18 per cent had increased their prescription rates.
But five per cent have cut back their prescription, while two thirds said their rate of prescription was unchanged.
Patients’ family and friends were the most common sources that have informed patients about Xenical, followed by magazines and newspapers/TV, according to the GPs that were polled.
The main factors that would encourage GPs to start or boost their prescribing of Xenical were a positive experience of treating patients with the product (48 per cent) and the results of clinical trials (42 per cent).
Hill & Knowlton continues to handle UK PR for the product.
Brand Watch is based on research by NOP World Health, via GP Net, which took place in January.