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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 17794

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

Carmody D, Mansfield PR
What do medical students think about pharmaceutical promotion?
Australian Medical Student Journal 2010 Apr; 1:(1):54-7


Aim: The aim of this review was to produce an overview of
surveys of medical students’ exposure to and attitudes towards
pharmaceutical promotion. Methods: PubMed was searched
for studies featuring surveys of medical students regarding their
interactions with pharmaceutical promotion and tabulated
the findings for survey questions relating to the main themes.
Results: Students have significant exposure to promotion, and
they generally view receiving gifts as acceptable, but do regard
some gifts as more appropriate than others. Most students think
pharmaceutical sales representative (PSR) presentations are biased
but still of educational value and should not be banned. Most
students do not believe promotion will affect their prescribing
behaviours. A large majority of students want more education in
their curricula on how to interact with PSRs. Conclusions: Many
medical students think that pharmaceutical promotion is biased
and feel underprepared for interactions with the pharmaceutical
industry. Despite this, they accept exposure to pharmaceutical
promotion believing that it will not influence them. There is scope
for improved education in medical schools about this issue.


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As an advertising man, I can assure you that advertising which does not work does not continue to run. If experience did not show beyond doubt that the great majority of doctors are splendidly responsive to current [prescription drug] advertising, new techniques would be devised in short order. And if, indeed, candor, accuracy, scientific completeness, and a permanent ban on cartoons came to be essential for the successful promotion of [prescription] drugs, advertising would have no choice but to comply.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963