Physicians’ relationship with the pharmaceutical industry and its reflection in introduction of a new drug

Minna Matikainen*, Leena Olkkonen, Nina Katajavuori, Petri Parvinen, Anne Juppo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: This study aims to examine the attitudes of physicians towards the pharmaceutical industry and investigates how these are reflected when a new drug is introduced. Design/methodology/approach: The qualitative theme-interview study adopts the innovation diffusion perspective and is conducted with 22 general practitioners and specialists. Findings: Physicians’ positive relationship orientation and active interaction can result in early adoption of new drugs with product advantage. In comparison, negatively oriented and passively interacting physicians will adopt a new drug later based on research evidence- and experience-based reasoning and opinions of their colleagues. Research limitations/implications: The objective was to obtain a deeper understanding of the research themes. Further qualitative studies in different countries and health care environments with a larger sample size would improve generalizability of results. Practical implications: It’s necessary to find an optimal win – win situation that fulfils both parties’ needs, while decreasing unnecessary and time-consuming marketing activities and avoiding waste of limited resources and allowing physicians to participate in activities that better serve their primary needs. Managers in pharmaceutical companies should ensure their sales representatives act in appropriate and professional ways, interact openly and reciprocally and provide accurate and objective information. Originality/value: The study demonstrates that the physician–pharmaceutical industry relationship has developed from being ethically precarious and having non-professional related personal benefits, towards becoming a more sustainable collaboration. The mutually beneficial collaboration supports physicians’ professional development, enabling better patient care and relieving strain on limited resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-326
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Collaboration
  • Interaction
  • New drug introduction
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Physicians
  • Relationship orientation


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