Drug company marketing is aimed at medical students
- By: Manjulika Das
Medical students should critically assess their contact with the pharmaceutical industry--so that their future practice and prescriptions are not influenced by the marketing strategies of drug companies, a recent US study has found (Academic Medicine 2004;79:1041-5).
Claus Pierach, professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, and colleagues were concerned about the aggressive marketing strategies of drug companies. They observed the extent of influence of pharmaceutical enterprises on undergraduate medical students. “It had been bothering us for years that the pharmaceutical representatives went after students although these undergraduates could not even order any medicines,” said Pierach.
The researchers interviewed on 165 preclinical and 116 clinical students--they devised a protocol to ask the participants at different levels of their education about their memories of influences from drug companies. “We also wanted to know specifics--that is, did they get trinkets of little value (pens etc) or more substantially, such