Pharmaceutical Marketing to Medical Students: The Student Perspective
It has been estimated that pharmaceutical companies spend $1.7 billion every year promoting their products to physicians in Canada. At least $21 billion are spent every year on drug promotion in the United States. Although pharmaceutical marketing campaigns are primarily directed toward practicing physicians and residents, medical students are targeted as well. The goal of this study was to assess medical student attitudes toward pharmaceutical promotion in a Canadian academic centre. A questionnaire was designed to assess the attitudes of medical students about pharmaceutical promotion, including the acceptability of receiving various gifts and incentives. The survey was administered to first, second, and fourth-year medical students at the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario, Canada). Statistical methods were employed to compare subpopulations of students based on demographic and socioeconomic data. Some 81% of students were not opposed to interacting with drug companies in medical school. Medical students felt comfortable accepting gifts of low monetary value, such as lunches (75%) and penlights (74%), but were willing to accept gifts of higher monetary value if the gifts served an educational purpose, such as textbooks (65%) and drug company-sponsored educational seminars (66%). 17% of students said that if presented with a choice of drugs identical in terms of price, efficacy, and effectiveness, they would prescribe the drug from the company that provided them with financial incentives. Statistical analysis showed no differences in responses among the different years of medical students. There were some differences in responses between medical students who had a doctor parent compared to those who did not have a doctor parent. Medical students are generally not opposed to interacting with or receiving gifts from pharmaceutical companies. Insights gained from this study raises issues that may be of interest to medical educators concerning the attitudes of the future physicians in Canada.
- Lexchin J. Interactions between physicians and the pharmaceutical industry: What does the literature say? CMAJ. 149(10):1401-1407; 1993.
- The Physician-Pharmaceutical Industry Relationship. No Free Lunch; Jan 2004. Available:www.nofreelunch.org/nofreelunchweb4/index.htm (accessed 18 Jul 2004).
- Square D. Does that free sleeve of golf balls demean the profession? CMAJ. 168(7):884; 2003.
- Wazana A. Physicians and the pharmaceutical industry: is a gift ever just a gift? JAMA 283:373-380; 2000.
- Katz D, Caplan A, Merz JF. All gifts large and small: toward an understanding of the ethics of pharmaceutical industry gift giving. Am J Bioethics 3:39-46; 2003.
- Rogers WA, Mansfield PR, Braunack-Mayer AJ, Jureidini JN. The ethics of pharmaceutical industry relationships with medical students. Med J Aust. 180(8):411-414; 2004
- Barnes CJ, Holcenberg JS. Student reactions to Pharmaceutical Promotion Practices. Northwest Med. 70:262-266; 1971.
- Monaghan MS, Galt KA, Turner PD, Houghton BL, Rich EC, Markert RJ, Bergman-Evans B. Student Understanding of the Relationships Between the Health Professionals and the Pharmaceutical Industry. Teaching and Learning in Medicine. 15:14-20; 2003.
- Palmisano P, Edelstein J. Teaching drug promotion abuses to health profession students. J Med Educ. 55:453-5; 1980.
- Mantyranta T, Hemminki E. Medical students and drug promotion. Acad Med. 69(9):736; 1994.
- Hodges B. Interactions with the pharmaceutical industry: experiences and attitudes of psychiatry residents, interns and clerks. CMAJ. 153(5):553-9; 1995.
- Steinman MA, Shlipak MG, McPhee SJ. Of principles and pens: attitudes and practices of medicine housestaff toward pharmaceutical industry promotions. The American Journal of Medicine. 110:551-557; 2001.
- Brett AS, Burr W, Moloo J. Are gifts from pharmaceutical companies ethically problematic?: a survey of physicians. Arch Intern Med 163:2213-2218; 2003.
- Ziegler MG, Lew P, Singer BC. The accuracy of drug information from pharmaceutical sales representatives. JAMA. 273(16):1296-8; 1995.
- Wilkes MS, Doblin BH, Shapiro MF. Pharmaceutical advertisements in leading medical journals: experts' assessments. Ann Intern Med. 116(11):912-9; 1992.
- Lexchin J. What information do physicians receive from pharmaceutical representatives? Can Fam Physician. 43:941-945; 1997.
- Chren MM, Landefeld CS, Murray TH. Doctors, drug companies, and gifts. JAMA. 262:3448-3451; 1989.
- Dana J, Loewenstein G. A social science perspective on gifts to physicians from industry. JAMA 290:252-255; 2003.
- Vinson DC, McCandless B, Hosokawa MC. Medical students' attitudes toward pharmaceutical marketing: possibilities for change. Family Medicine 25:31-33; 1993.
- McCormick BB, Tomlinson G, Brill-Edwards P, and Detsky AS. Effect of Restricting Contact Between Pharmaceutical Company Representatives and Internal Medicine Residents on Posttraining Attitudes and Behavior. JAMA 286: 1994-1999; 2001.
Download data is not yet available.
You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.