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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 1695

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

Zipkin DA, Steinman MA.
Interactions Between Pharmaceutical Representatives and Doctors in Training: A thematic review.
J Gen Intern Med 2005 Jun 13; 20:(8):777-86
http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.0134.x


Abstract:

Objective: Medical school and residency are formative years in establishing patterns of prescribing. We aimed to review the literature regarding the extent of pharmaceutical industry contact with trainees, attitudes about these interactions, and effects on trainee prescribing behavior, with an emphasis on points of potential intervention and policy formation.

Design: We searched MEDLINE from 1966 until May 2004 for English language articles. All original articles were included if the abstract reported content relevant to medical training and the pharmaceutical industry. Editorials, guidelines, and policy recommendations were excluded.

Measurements and Main Results: Contact with pharmaceutical representatives was common among residents. The majority of trainees felt that the interactions were appropriate. A minority felt that their own prescribing could be influenced by contact or gifts, but were more likely to believe that others’ prescribing could be influenced. Resident prescribing was associated with pharmaceutical representative visits and the availability of samples. A variety of policy and educational interventions appear to influence resident attitudes toward interactions with industry, although data on the long-term effects of these interventions are limited. Overall, residents reported insufficient training in this area.

Conclusions: The pharmaceutical industry has a significant presence during residency training, has gained the overall acceptance of trainees, and appears to influence prescribing behavior. Training programs can benefit from policies and curricula that teach residents about industry influence and ways in which to critically evaluate information that they are given. Recommendations for local and national approaches are discussed.

 

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There is no sin in being wrong. The sin is in our unwillingness to examine our own beliefs, and in believing that our authorities cannot be wrong. Far from creating cynics, such a story is likely to foster a healthy and creative skepticism, which is something quite different from cynicism.”
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