Why we should all support the Pharm-Free movement

Remember the PharmFree movement I wrote about a while back? The program that encourages medical students not to accept gifts from pharmaceutical companies?

Well, according to this article on PharmaLive, a survey discussed in JAMA's med ed issue give more evidence on why it's needed. A snip:

    The overall response rate of the surveys was 72.3 percent (826/1,143). The researchers found that average exposure for each student was 1 gift or sponsored activity per week. Of respondents, 93.2 percent were asked or required by a physician to attend at least 1 sponsored lunch. Regarding attitudes, 68.8 percent believed gifts would not influence their practices and 57.7 percent believed gifts would not affect colleagues' practices. Of the students, 80.3 percent (553/604) believed that they were entitled to gifts. Of 183 students who thought a gift valued at less than $50 was inappropriate, 86.3 percent had accepted one.

    Nearly 60 percent (59.6 percent) of the students simultaneously believed that sponsored grand rounds are educationally helpful and are likely to be biased. Students at one school who had attended a seminar about drug company-physician relationships were no more likely than the non-attending classmates to show skepticism. Of the respondents, 85.6 percent did not know if their school had a policy on these relationships. In a national survey of student affairs deans, among the 99 who knew their policy status, only 10.1 percent reported having school-wide policies about these interactions.

Credit card companies hook college students to get long-term customers. Does anyone think that pharma companies don't do the same thing, albeit in a different way? Let's teach the next generation of physicians to be independent thinkers, as well as good docs (and can they even be good docs if they're not independent thinkers?).

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