Publication Abstract

Authors: Vadaparampil ST, Wideroff L, Olson L, Viswanath K, Freedman AN

Title: Physician exposure to and attitudes toward advertisements for genetic tests for inherited cancer susceptibility.

Journal: Am J Med Genet A 135(1):41-6

Date: 2005 May 15

Abstract: Commercial marketing materials may serve as a source of information for physicians about genetic testing for inherited cancer susceptibility (GTICS) in addition to medical guidelines, continuing education, and journal articles. The primary purposes of this study were to: (1) determine the percentage of physicians who received advertisements for GTICS early in the diffusion of commercial GTICS (1999-2000); (2) assess associated characteristics; and (3) measure the perceived importance of commercial advertisements and promotions in physicians' decisions to recommend testing to patients. A nationally representative, stratified random sample of 1,251 physicians from the American Medical Association (AMA) Physician Masterfile completed a 15-20 min mixed mode questionnaire that assessed specialty, previous use of genetic tests, practice characteristics, age, and receipt of advertising materials (response rate = 71%). Overall, 27.4% (n = 426) had received advertisements. In multivariate analysis, factors associated with receipt of advertisements included: specialties in obstetrics/gynecology, oncology, or gastroenterology; past GTICS use, and age 50+. One of four felt that advertisements would be important in their decision to recommend GTICS. Study results indicate that physicians, particularly in oncology, obstetrics/gynecology, and gastroenterology, began receiving GTICS advertisements commensurate with the early diffusion of commercially available tests into clinical practice. At that time, one-quarter of the physicians considered advertisements to play an important role in their clinical decision making, suggesting attention to other sources of information and additional factors.