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Int J Health Serv. 1983;13(1):107-18.

The Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties: a critical analysis.


The Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (CPS) is the most widely used source of drug information in Canada, and is heavily financed by the pharmaceutical industry. A close examination of its contents comparing a computer-drawn, randomized sample of monographs from its "White Pages" to standard pharmacological reference works demonstrates certain of its characteristics: it uncritically includes many inadequate preparations; it overstates the benefits and understates the adverse qualities of many preparations; and it contains little or no information on relative indications, efficacy, or price. These characteristics serve to promote the marketing goals of the drug manufacturers and severely limit the volume's usefulness as an objective source of drug information. The role of the CPS and similar publications in the overall context of current drug company marketing strategies is discussed. Finally, suggestions for improvements are made involving the elimination of direct manufacturer financing, and the creation of an objective, independent, nonprofit publishing agency supported by professional and governmental organizations.

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