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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 19724

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: Electronic Source

Dermatology Residents Believe Interactions with Industry are Ethical
CME Coalition 2011 Nov 22

Full text:

According to a recent survey, “more than 70% of dermatology residents and program directors say they believe that it is ethical for residents to interact with the pharmaceutical industry.” The results were presented during a resident forum during a meeting that was sponsored by Galderma.

The study, conducted by Dr. Erica Linnell, under the direction of Dr. Vincent DeLeo – both of the department of dermatology at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York – assessed whether residents and program directions believe interactions with the pharmaceutical industry affect prescribing patterns among residents and whether they think such interactions are ethical. Dr. Linnell had no conflicts of interest.

The authors “found that most residents have significant interactions with pharmaceutical representatives and most believe that such activities are acceptable in certain circumstances, which is similar to survey results of other specialties, said Dr. Linnell.”

Of the 114 survey respondents from Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-approved programs, 50% were chief residents, 37% were program directors, and 13% were first-, second-, or third-year dermatology residents or associate program directors. The 17-question electronic survey found that:

- 73% of residency programs accept pharmaceutical support

- 68% accept educational materials

- 55% accept drug samples

- 55% accept funds for travel and registration at national meetings

- 27% accept private lunches or dinners

- 25% accept food for conferences and

- 5% accept pens, notepads, and other office supplies.

A total of 87% of survey respondents reported that the residency program at their university had guidelines for interacting with the pharmaceutical industry. When asked about the guidelines, 60% of respondents reported that interacting with pharma was “acceptable in certain circumstances,” 25% reported that it was “never acceptable,” 8% reported that is was “not acceptable but not discouraged,” and 3% reported that it was “acceptable and encouraged.”

When it came to respondents’ personal beliefs, 71% reported that interacting with pharma is “acceptable in certain circumstances,” 13% reported that it is “acceptable and encouraged,” and 9% reported that it is “never acceptable.”

Of the respondents, 55% reported having on-site meetings with pharmaceutical representatives, and 57% reported that they believe that such meetings are appropriate. Off-site meetings were reported by 62% of respondents, with 63% believing that such meetings are appropriate. Most off-site meetings (91%) were reported to be dinner with a lecture.

Survey participants were divided on whether they thought interactions with pharma affect prescribing patterns; 54% said yes, while 46% said no.

A total of 71% of residents reported that it is ethical to interact with pharma and explained that they believe it is important for residents to learn about new medications. The 29% who say they believe that it is not ethical to interact with pharma explained they believe it leads to biased prescribing, that residents are too easily influenced by pharma representatives, and that accepting gifts and food without educational value is wrong.

Despite this small minority, this kind of strong evidence clearly shows the important role that industry plays in all areas of medicine and healthcare, particularly specialty areas.


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