Should drug industry staff teach students?
As therapeutics departments in medical schools close, Rebecca Coombes hears how the drug industry saw an opportunity
Drug company staff are providing direct teaching to UK undergraduate medical students, a model that the industry hopes can be developed to forge valuable links with trainee doctors. The move comes as many medical schools are moving investment away from clinical pharmacology to concentrate on research.
Pfizer has a contract to deliver a module to undergraduates at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, a new school that does not have a clinical pharmacology department. Pfizer does not charge for its services, and students travel to the company's headquarters in Walton Oaks, Surrey, for a series of seminars with staff.
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) is also delivering talks to undergraduates at several medical schools. Richard Tiner, its medical director. He believes that UK medical academics were becoming more receptive to offers of help from the industry.
“Three to four years ago we weren't doing anything like this. Last