Objective: To determine the effect on resident attitudes of policies regarding pharmaceutical representative interactions with residents.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Setting: National sample of U.S. family medicine residencies.
Participants: Three hundred seventy-eight residents from 14 randomly selected programs. Seven programs had written policies and restrictions (restricted programs), and seven had no such restriction or guideline (free programs).
Measurements and main results: The authors assessed resident attitudes regarding the perception of benefit from pharmaceutical representative activities, the usefulness of various sources of drug information, and the appropriateness of accepting gifts from a pharmaceutical representative. There were 265/378 respondents (70% response rate). Residents from restricted programs reported fewer benefits from pharmaceutical representative interactions and were less likely to feel that acceptance of gifts was appropriate. The amount of exposure to pharmaceutical representatives was positively correlated with perceived benefit and negatively correlated with ratings of appropriateness of gift acceptance.
Conclusion: Regulatory policies can influence resident attitudes and perceptions. Training programs should develop written policies to help guide resident-pharmaceutical representative interactions.