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Smart Drugs – Attitudes and public health implications

Smart Drugs (or nootropics) are substances used to enhance cognitive functions. Exact usage numbers are difficult to ascertain, but a recent study conducted among UBC students found that 1 in 30 students admitted using ADHD medication they were not prescribed, for their cognitive effects.

The use of Smart Drugs appears to be gaining momentum in Canada, especially among students and young professionals in high pressure situations, thereby having the potential to turn into a public health issue.

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Use of smart drugs is high particularly among students. A 2013 study of UBC students found that 1 in 3 admitted to obtaining ADHD medication they had not been prescribed, for the purpose of aiding study and the completion of coursework.

Stimulants for treating ADHD are thought to be the most commonly used nootropics, especially among students, because they can be obtained from friends with prescriptions, or possibly by feigning symptoms to obtain a false prescription.

When introduced to the concept of smart drugs, 85% of GPs believed that the marketing materials used to promote smart drugs are perpetuating false information about the benefits of these products; 81% believe they are a significant public health issue; 69% are concerned about safety as it relates to the long terms use of smart drugs. See our infographic for a more detailed look at the results from this study.

Past Quick Polls

Remote detailing for pharma – Physicians’ perspectives – Canada

Our 5-minute online survey conducted in the fall of 2020 sought to gain clarity around remote detailing. This study was conducted with 339 Canadian physicians who are members of the MD Analytics healthcare panel and the results provide actionable recommendations on how to form a more ‘ideal’ pharma remote detail.

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Does Online Advertising Click for Physicians?

Strong online advertising and messaging are key to maximizing impact of any marketing campaign. With recent restrictions on in-person interactions, online advertising and messaging play an even greater role in reaching physicians. Our findings from a survey of n=227 Canadian physicians show that 82% of Canadian physicians have increased their use of online platforms as a result of COVID-19, 48% significantly so.

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Forecasting New Pharma Products – Improving accuracy

Physicians recognize that new medications often can be quite valuable for their patients and are eager to add them to their armamentarium. However, they do not always end up prescribing these new medications as much as they initially plan or as early as they would like. There are many reasons that can explain this discrepancy.

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