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Phast Phact of the Month

MAY 2010

Dave Carmody - an active Pharma Phacter - has published a review article in the new Australian Medical Student Journal – the national peer-reviewed biomedical journal for students. The review article entitled “What do medical students think about pharmaceutical promotion?” aimed to produce an overview of surveys of medical students’ exposure to and attitudes towards pharmaceutical promotion.

Dave examined the results of 14 papers and made the following conclusions from the literature:

• Many medical students think that pharmaceutical promotion is biased.
• Many medical students feel underprepared for interactions with the pharmaceutical industry.
• Despite this, medical students accept exposure to pharmaceutical promotion believing it will not influence them.
• There is scope for improved education in medical schools about this issue.

You can read Dave’s article online here:

Or download it to keep from here:

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

APRIL 2010

One of the most important studies in the area of pharmaceutical promotion is an article by Ashley Wazana titled, “Physicians and the Pharmaceutical Industry: Is a Gift Ever Just a Gift?”. It is an analytical review of studies dealing with physicians’ contacts with the pharmaceutical industry and their attitudes towards it. It is a great article and we recommend you read it.

The basic conclusions of the review are that (bearing in mind that this is just a snapshot);

- Physicians have frequent contact with pharmaceutical promotion and they generally trust it to be an accurate and valuable source of information

- Most physicians deny that gifts would influence their behaviour

- Physicians who met with drug reps were more likely to prescribe that drug, had higher prescribing costs, had higher rates of non-rational prescribing, were more likely to prescribe new drugs and less likely to prescribe generic drugs

- The practice of accepting gifts (samples, meals, funding for travel, CME) was associated with increased prescribing of drugs featured in pharmaceutical promotion

Wazana, A. (2000)  ‘Physicians and the Pharmaceutical Industry: Is a Gift Ever Just a Gift?’,  Journal of the American Medical Association vol. 283, no. 3, pp. 373-380




Pharma Phacts are a medical student group committed to raising awareness about pharmaceutical companies and their interactions with medical students.