Aims: To evaluate the effectiveness of a health authority/pharmaceutical company collaborative intervention to influence the choice of proton pump inhibitors
Methods: Randomized controlled trial, with general practices forming the unit of allocation and analysis.
Results: Constructive working relationships were achieved with five of six pharmaceutical companies involved. One hundred and two out of 140 practitioners in intervention group practices received at least one visit from an industry representative. There were no reports of representatives operating outside their agreed remit. Prescribing in both the intervention and control group moved towards that recommended by the guidelines but there was no difference between the groups in either the proportion of prescriptions in line with the guidelines or the overall cost.
Conclusions: Health authorities can achieve professional working relationships with the pharmaceutical industry although no changes in practice attributable to the intervention are achieved. Further work is required to develop effective means to influence prescribing in line with independent guidelines especially in the context of the development of Primary Care Groups.