Patterns of Preference for Information Sources in the Adoption of New Drugs by Specialists

Soc Sci Med. 1990;31(4):467-76. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(90)90042-q.


The present study investigated the adoption of new prescription drugs by specialists who treat serious disorders using relatively high risk drugs with potentially serious side effects. One-hundred and fifty-six specialists, primarily practicing in medical specialties, evaluated a number of drug information sources and reported their use of these sources both in their general drug adoption procedures and in the adoption of one of a number of target drugs. As predicted, the pattern of drug adoption among specialists is substantially different from that generally reported in earlier studies, which are usually based on samples of general practitioners or of general practitioners and specialists combined. Professional sources of information predominate throughout the process, both in adoption procedures generally used and in the adoption of target drugs. The majority of specialists reported contact with commercial sources at some stage in the adoption process for the target drugs, but these sources were not, as is often reported in the literature, the main sources of first news of a new drug, nor did they exert much influence at the prescribing stage. It is clear from these results that in future research on drug innovation, different classes of medical practitioners, such as specialists vs general practitioners, will need to be distinguished.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Australia
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Drug Information Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Drug Utilization
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Specialization*