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Restricting marketing to trainee doctors can create scepticism

A US study finds that restricting marketing to trainee doctors can negatively affect their attitudes to the pharmaceutical industry

A US study has found that restricting marketing to trainee doctors can negatively affect their attitudes to the pharmaceutical industry.

Despite the rise in direct-to-consumer advertising in the US media, the majority of the USD 21bn that pharmaceutical companies spend annually on marketing targets doctors, training doctors and medical students.

According to research conducted by the Indiana University Medical School and the Regenstrief Institute, a review of recent medical literature published in the December 2007 issue of 'Paediatrics' found that seminars, role-playing and other strategies could positively affect the medical community's attitudes and behaviour toward drug companies.

The study author, Dr Aaron E Carroll, assistant professor of paediatrics with Children's Health Services Research, revealed that policies restricting contact between medical trainees and the pharmaceutical industry led to more scepticism about information provided by drug company sales representatives and altered future behaviour in interactions with those reps.

In a press statement, Carroll said: "Doing nothing is no longer an acceptable option. Medical schools need to bring up the complex financial, medical and ethical issues involved in the interactions between doctors and drug companies."

4th December 2007

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