This post courtesy of Anne Taylor-Vaisey:
From the April 2005 issue of Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey: Agrawal S, Saluja I, Kaczorowski J. A prospective before-and-after trial of an educational intervention about pharmaceutical marketing. Obstet Gynecol Surv 2005; 60(4):224-226.
Abstract: Evidence is accumulating that aggressive efforts by pharmaceutical companies to promote their products may compromise the way in which physicians prescribe medication. Medical students and postgraduate trainees in general have positive feelings about promotions, engage in them often, and claim not to be influenced by them. This study used a self-administered questionnaire to identify changes that occurred after a 2.5-hour educational intervention: a faculty-led discussion of interactions between physicians and pharmaceutical compan! ies, and an interactive workshop citing ways of optimizing visits by sales representatives. The workshop also included problem-based discussions in small and large groups. The participants, 37 residents in family medicine, were asked about their attitudes toward various marketing strategies, including drug samples, industry-sponsored continuing medical education (CME), discussions with sales representatives, free meals, and gifts.Drug samples were viewed most favorably both before and after the intervention, followed by industry-sponsored CME. The least popular strategy was the provision of free meals. Respondents reported less favorable views of all forms of marketing after the intervention. The residents questioned the ethical proprietary of marketing measures, their usefulness to residents, and their value to patients. Fewer respondents accepted gifts and sponsored CME after the intervention, although the differences were not statistically significant. The residents' confidence in identifying and managing industry marketing techniques decreased after the intervention, but only slightly.This and other studies suggest that the attitudes held by residents toward pharmaceutical marketing techniques are susceptible to change by brief educational interventions. Whether this shift leads to clinically relevant behavioral changes remains to be demonstrated.