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Comment on: the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on the off-label use of its medicines
  1. A Herxheimer
  1. UK Cochrane Centre, 9 Park Crescent, London N3 2NL, UK; andrew_herxheimer{at}compuserve.com

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    Gebhardt draws attention to an important issue. The responsibility for informing and warning patients about adverse effects and how to prevent them, or to recognise them early and minimise harm, is shared between the manufacturer, the national regulatory agency, the prescriber, and the pharmacist. The first two must ensure that prescribers and pharmacists are adequately equipped and helped to do their part. Any printed information needs to be tested on a sample of actual patients to demonstrate that over 90% can actually understand and use it. Beyond that, doctors and pharmacist have to be motivated and helped to check (and document in their records) how well the individual patient has understood the problems and the information.

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