Medical students and drug marketing. Aten Primaria. 2013 Nov 6. doi:pii: S0212-6567(13)00246-1. 10.1016/j.aprim.2013.08.003. [Epub ahead of print] Spanish.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the exposure of medical students to the marketing activities of the pharmaceutical industry, and identify their opinions and attitudes, and also the possible effects this exposure on their training and future professional practice.
DESIGN: Descriptive cross-sectional.
SETTING: University of Zaragoza Faculty of Medicine.
PARTICIPANTS: Third, fourth, fifth and sixth year medical students.
METHODS: The information was obtained using a previously adapted, self-report questionnaire on the exposure, attitudes and perceived suitability of drug marketing activities. Percentages were calculated for the categorical variables, applying the chi squared test for the comparison between the groups. A logistic regression was performed to determine the factors associated with their attitudes towards these activities.
RESULTS: A total of 369 questionnaires were returned (93% of those attending classes). The exposure to marketing activities is high, particularly in the clinical stage (78.6% said to have received a gift non-educational gift). The students recognised the possible biases and repercussions in professional practice, although with ambiguity and contradictions. The most accepted activities are those associated with training, and the most critical attitudes appear in the clinical stage, particularly in the sixth year.
CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to drug marketing by medical students and its possible training and professional effects is frequent and significant. The training environment is particularly open to promotional activities. The differences observed in the later years suggest the need for a specific curriculum subject and development of reflective attitudes by the studentsthemselves.