Drug promotion influences physicians in such a way that they have a tendency for irrational prescribing, preference for newer, more expensive drugs and an inability to identify incorrect claims about drug products. Therefore, this study assessed interactions of drug promoters and physicians and its effect on prescribing in Ethiopia. A cross sectional study was conducted among physicians working both in private and public health facilities, and drug promoters in Dessie town, Ethiopia. Data was collected using a structured self-administered questionnaire. Statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS 20 software. This study found that drug promoters visited most of physicians and half of them accepted a gift from drug promoters. Drug sample, office stationery and invitation for training were the most common types of gifts offered to physicians. Regarding to perception of physicians, nearly two third of physicians perceived that the information received from drug promoters is not adequate. Most of the physicians said that promoters did not influence the prescribing behaviour of physicians about newly promoted drugs. About half of the physicians believed that drug promoters should not promote their products in the way they are doing currently. Drug companies were claimed to be sources of information for physicians to learn about drugs; however, they perceived that information received from drug promoters is biased in favour of their products.
Keywords: Social and environmental factors, drug promotion, Ethiopia