Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 240–243 | Cite as

Pharmaceutical representatives in academic medical centers

Interaction with faculty and housestaff
  • Nicole Lurie
  • Eugene C. Rich
  • Deborah E. Simpson
  • Jeff Meyer
  • David L. Schiedermayer
  • Jesse L. Goodman
  • W. Paul McKinney
Original Articles


Objective:To determine the nature, frequency and effects of internal medicine bousestaff and faculty contacts with pharmaceutical representatives (PRs).

Design and setting:The authors surveyed internal medicine faculty at seven midwest teaching hospitals and housestaff from two of the teaching programs. The survey asked about type and frequency of contacts with PRs and behavior that might be related to these contacts. T-tests and logistic regression were used to estimate the relationship between reported physician contacts and behavioral changes.

Participants:Two hundred forty faculty (78%) and 131 house officers (75%) responded to the survey.

Results:Faculty and housestaff averaged 1.5 brief contacts per month with PRs. Housestaff averaged more than one meal/month at pharmaceutical company expense. Twenty-five percent of faculty and 32% of residents reported changing their practices at least once based on PR contact. Independent predictors of faculty change in practice were brief or extended conversations and free meals. Predictors of faculty requests for formulary addition were brief conversations and receipt of honoraria or research support. Only brief conversations independently predicted housestaff changes in practice.

Conclusion:Academic housestaff and faculty have frequent PR contact; such contact is related to changes in behavior. The potential for influence of PRs in academic medical centers should be recognized, and their activities should be evaluated accordingly.

Key words

pharmaceutical representatives pharmaceutical advertising marketing drug detailing 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Young QD. Structural reforms in health care delivery. Arch Intern Med. 1975;135:904–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Miller RR. Prescribing habits of physicians: a review of studies on prescribing of drugs. Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1974;8:81–91.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Personal communication. Scott-Levin Associates, Inc. Newtowne, PA.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lexchin, J. Pharmaceutical promotion in Canada. Int J Health Serv. 1987;17:77–88.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Worthen DB. Prescribing influences: an overview. Br J Med. Educ. 1973;7:109–17.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Herman CM, Rodowskas CA. Communicating drug information to physicians. J Med Educ. 1976;51:189–96.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Eaton G, Parish P. Sources of drug information used by general practitioners. Prescribing in General Practice. J R Coll Gen. Pract. 1976;26(suppl 1):58–64.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Stross JK. Information sources and clinical decisions. J Gen Intern Med. 1987;2:155–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Avorn J, Cehn M, Hartley R. Scientific versus commercial sources of influences on the prescribing behavior of physicians. Am J Med. 1982;73:4–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hemminki E, Pesonen T. An inquiry into associations between leading physicians and the drug industry in Finland. Soc Sci Med. 1977;11:501–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Stross JK, Hiss RG, Watts CM, Davis WK, MacDonald R. Continuing education in pulmonary disease for primary physicians. Am Rev Resp Dis. 1983;127:739–46.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kunin CM. Clinical investigators and the pharmaceutical industry. Ann Intern Med. 1978;89:842–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Davidson RA. Source of funding and outcome of clinical trials. J Gen Intern Med. 1986;1:155–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Soffer A. Hazards in publication of proceedings. Arch Intern Med. 1982;142:20–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole Lurie
    • 4
  • Eugene C. Rich
    • 3
  • Deborah E. Simpson
    • 1
  • Jeff Meyer
    • 4
  • David L. Schiedermayer
    • 1
  • Jesse L. Goodman
    • 2
  • W. Paul McKinney
    • 1
  1. 1.Medical College of Wisconsin (DES, DLS)Minneapolis and St. Paul
  2. 2.University of Minnesota HospitalMinneapolis and St. Paul
  3. 3.St. Paul Ramsey HospitalMilwaukee
  4. 4.Department of MedicineHennepin County Medical CenterMinneapolis

Personalised recommendations