Communicating drug risk to physicians: Challenges and opportunities

Elaine H. Morrato, Barbara Curbow, Rosa M. Crum, Carolyn Nowels, Manning Feinleib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Improving drug risk communication is a public health priority outlined by The Institute of Medicine to ensure patient safety. Physicians are an important audience of drug risk communication and effective communication is essential for promoting their adoption of risk management behavior. In this study, the authors explored information sources physicians prefer for keeping their drug safety knowledge current (particularly regarding new warnings). In a sample of US physicians, the authors found multiple resources were used for drug safety information with no single source used by everyone. Respondents had created a customized set of preferred resources with built-in redundancy. Participants discussed the strengths and limitations of different information sources: scientific (e.g., highest credibility), third-party (e.g., fast and electronically-delivered, but patients have access to the same information) and the drug company (e.g., legally accurate, but biased). The findings highlight the challenge in delivering a consistent, timely, and persuasive drug risk message to physicians through varying layers of intermediary messengers. The authors propose a conceptual framework of the communication flow for drug safety warnings to inform future research to optimize risk communication delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008


  • Drug risk communication
  • Physicians
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Communicating drug risk to physicians: Challenges and opportunities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this