TUESDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- Drug company marketing to
those attending medical school is common and can cloud students'
ethical judgment, researchers warn.
A team led by Kirsten Austad and Aaron S. Kesselheim at Harvard
Medical School in Boston analyzed published studies that included a
total of 9,850 students at 76 medical schools in the United States.
The investigators found that most of the students had some type of
interaction with drug companies and that this contact increased
during the clinical years, with up to 90 percent of clinical
students receiving some form of marketing materials from drug
Among the students queried, most believed there was no ethical
problem in accepting gifts from drug companies. Their
justifications included financial hardship or pointing out that
most other medical students accepted such gifts.
Nearly two-thirds of the medical students claimed that drug
company promotions, gifts or interactions with sales
representatives did not affect their impartiality regarding drug
makers and their products.
The study is published in the May 24 online edition of the
The study authors said their findings suggest that strategies to
educate medical students about interactions with drug makers should
directly address widely held misconceptions about the effects of
In addition, medical schools need to introduce reforms, such as
rules limiting contact between students and drug company
"These changes can help move medical education a step closer to two important goals: the cultivation of strong professional values, as well as the promotion of a respect for scientific principles and critical review of evidence that will later inform clinical decision-making and prescribing practices," the researchers concluded.
Santa Clara University has more about
drug company gifts to doctors.