Physicians are less skeptical of information received at medical exhibitions than they are of marketing from pharmaceutical field sales representatives or medical journal advertisements, according to a new study by the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy for the Healthcare Convention and Exhibition Association.

The report—“Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Marketing Efforts: Messages Lost in Skepticism?”—was presented by the research team at HCEA’s annual meeting, held this week—June 13–16—in Tampa, Fla. An executive summary of the study, released last week, provides an overview of the findings. “Overall, it appears that physicians view commercially generated information with skepticism,” states the report. “However, knowing that marketing messages are viewed with skepticism, it becomes even more important to understand how deeply one’s marketing messages are being ‘discounted.’”

The researchers surveyed 453 doctors and measured the degree of skepticism with which they view marketing messages. For both medical device and pharmaceutical companies, exhibitions were viewed with slightly less skepticism than field sales calls—and significantly less cynically than journal advertisements. “Although there were no significant differences between skepticism of information shared by sales representatives versus information shared at medical exhibits, this finding would appear to strengthen the position of medical exhibits in the overall marketing mix,” the report concludes.

HCEA Executive Vice President Eric Allen says the study helps answer questions about the effectiveness of healthcare convention marketing versus other forms of marketing. For more information, go to HCEA’s Web site.