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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 1157

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: Journal Article

Watkins RS, Kimberly J Jr.
What residents don't know about physician-pharmaceutical industry interactions.
Acad Med 2004 May; 79:(5):432-7
http://www.academicmedicine.org/cgi/content/full/79/5/432


Abstract:

PURPOSE: Little is known about the knowledge and skills internal medicine residents need to interact appropriately with pharmaceutical industry representatives. The authors conducted a needs assessment of current knowledge and preferences for potential components of a new educational initiative among residents. METHOD: In 2001, a two-page questionnaire using a five-point ordinal scale was mailed to all internal medicine residents and faculty at one institution. Analysis included use of Wilcoxon two-sample test. RESULTS: Response rates were 97% (85/88) for residents and 79% (86/109) for faculty. Residents and faculty’s knowledge about formal position statements or literature on the impact of marketing strategies on prescribing patterns, drug marketing costs, or how pharmaceutical representatives are trained to interact with physicians was very limited. Most responders felt residents should learn to critically interpret promotional materials, recognize potential for conflict of interest, and consider how patients perceive the physician-pharmaceutical industry relationship. More faculty than residents valued including position statements (66% versus 39%, p <.001) and literature exploring the impact of marketing on prescribing patterns (70% versus 41%, p <.001) in education. Only one-half or fewer favored small-group discussions, lecture series, critical-reading skills seminars, or panel discussions. CONCLUSIONS: Internal medicine residents and faculty reported low levels of knowledge about physician-pharmaceutical industry relationships. Some consensus about educational components existed, but optimal educational formats remain uncertain. A six-hour curriculum to address this complex, emotionally charged topic was developed, implemented, and evaluated.

 

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...to influence multinational corporations effectively, the efforts of governments will have to be complemented by others, notably the many voluntary organisations that have shown they can effectively represent society’s public-health interests…
A small group known as Healthy Skepticism; formerly the Medical Lobby for Appropriate Marketing) has consistently and insistently drawn the attention of producers to promotional malpractice, calling for (and often securing) correction. These organisations [Healthy Skepticism, Médecins Sans Frontières and Health Action International] are small, but they are capable; they bear malice towards no one, and they are inscrutably honest. If industry is indeed persuaded to face up to its social responsibilities in the coming years it may well be because of these associations and others like them.
- Dukes MN. Accountability of the pharmaceutical industry. Lancet. 2002 Nov 23; 360(9346)1682-4.