Purpose: The role of pharmaceutical companies’ promotional tools in the prescribing decision of physicians comprises five commonly-used promotional tools: sales promotions; advertising; public relations; direct marketing; and personal selling. The purpose of this paper was to examine the existing literature on promotional tools and then explore which medical practitioners’ demographic factors influence the relationship between the various promotional tools and physicians’ prescription behaviour.
Design/methodology/approach: A survey of the literature was carried out across online databases from 2008 to 2018, and 41 reviewed articles were identified. The influence of promotional tools on physician prescribing decisions was identified in the articles.
Findings: There have been numerous studies on the effect of promotional tools on physician prescription decision. They demonstrated that promotional tools strongly influence physicians’ prescribing decision, but a few others found only minor or no relation. To resolve this ambiguity, there is a need to precisely understand how promotional tools affect prescribing decisions of physicians, under different contexts and conditions.
Research limitations/implications: The study recommends further studies on the influence of each factor on physician prescribing behaviour and an evaluation of the proposed model and moderating variables.
Originality/value: This paper provides a significant step towards recognizing the relationship between promotional tools and prescribing behaviour. This research contributes to the debate on the ways prescribing behaviour can be affected.