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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 19766

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

Shankar PR, Singh KK, Piryani RM
Knowledge, attitude and skills before and after a module on pharmaceutical promotion in a Nepalese medical school
BMC Research Notes 2012 Jan 6; 5:(8):


Pharmaceutical promotion is widespread and can impact prescribing by health professionals. Little research has been conducted on interactions between medical students and the pharmaceutical industry. Teaching about pharmaceutical promotion is inadequate. A survey showed that many schools spend only about two hours teaching this important topic while others spend around six hours. Recently a manual on understanding and responding to promotion has been published by Health Action International (HAI) and the World Health Organization (WHO). From April to August 2011 the department of Clinical Pharmacology at KIST Medical College, Lalitpur, Nepal conducted a module on pharmaceutical promotion for second year students based on the manual. The module used active learning strategies such as brainstorming sessions, role plays and group activities. The study worked on the hypothesis that a module on pharmaceutical promotion will be effective in improving the knowledge, attitude and skills of medical students regarding pharmaceutical promotion. The impact of the module on knowledge, attitude and skills was tested using a retrospective-pre questionnaire. The scores according to gender and method of financing of medical education before and after the module were compared using appropriate non-parametric tests.

Eighty-seven of the 100 second year students (87%) participated in the study. 47 were females (54%) and 39 (44.83%) were males and one did not state the gender. Seventy-seven students (88.5%) were self-financing while 9 were scholarship students. The median knowledge, attitude and skills score before the module were 9, 13 and 6 respectively while the overall score was 28. The scores increased significantly to 16, 15 and 14 respectively after the module while the overall score increased to 45. The median attitude scores and total scores were significantly higher among females both before and after the module. The scores did not vary with method of financing of medical education. All scores increased significantly at the end of the module.

The nine hour module held over a period of four months was effective in improving respondents’ knowledge, attitudes and skills about pharmaceutical promotion. The module was not resource intensive and used resources already available in the institution. Similar modules can be considered in other medical and health profession schools in Nepal, South Asia and other developing countries.


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Email a Friend 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.