Keywords: shared care systems, general practitioners, specialists, healthcare, patients, professional interaction, spending, utilisation, barriers to effective communication,
Keywords: Albert-László Barabási, influence, networks, scale-free networks,
Keywords: commercial / professional information, diffusion of pharmaceutical innovations / early adoption of new drugs / new drug uptake, drug / patient / practice / prescriber characteristics, general practitioners (GPs), governments, pharmaceutical companies / industry, primary / secondary care, professional / socio-demographic characteristics, social networks, specialists,
Abstract: The diffusion of pharmaceutical innovations is a complex process. Its success is crucial for both pharmaceutical companies and patients and is determined by the marketing efforts of pharmaceutical companies, drug characteristics, government policies, and the behaviour of both medical professionals and patients. This article explores the literature on prescribing behaviours for factors influencing new drug uptake in both primary and secondary care. Four quantitatively measurable categories of variables are analysed in terms of prediction of early adoption—prescriber, patient, practice, and drug characteristics. Four major qualitatively accessible categories of variables are also analysed—the perceived attributes of new drugs, the role of professional information sources and evidence, the influence of commercial information sources, and the role of the social system. Although early adoption of new drugs is not a personal trait independent of drug type, early adopters do have some characteristics in common. Understanding the socio-demographic and professional characteristics of early adopters of new drugs—and the interactions among them—might speed up the diffusion process, promote cost-efficient prescribing habits, forecast utilisation, and develop targeted intervention strategies.