European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 66, Issue 7, pp 727–733 | Cite as

Norwegian medical students’ attitudes towards the pharmaceutical industry

Pharmacoepidemiology and Prescription

Abstract

Objective

Whereas there is a considerable body of information on the interaction between physicians and the pharmaceutical industry, little is known about the pharmaceutical industry–medical student relationship. We have assessed the extent of contact between Norwegian medical students and the pharmaceutical industry as well as the attitudes of these students towards the pharmaceutical industry.

Methods

A self-assessment questionnaire was distributed to fifth- and sixth-year students attending the four medical schools in Norway and to Norwegian medical students attending selected universities abroad.

Results

A total of 65.8% of all eligible students returned a completed questionnaire. Of these, 73.9% had been exposed to various levels of contact with the pharmaceutical industry, but only 17.5% reported having a generally positive attitude towards the industry. The level of exposure did not correlate in students’ attitudes; rather, it correlated positively to a feeling of competence in terms of being able to handle such interactions. A majority of students responded that while they would decline accepting monetary gifts, they would welcome receiving reimbursements for meeting expenses, meals and educational material. Students favoured a practice of full disclosure of potential industry-related conflicts of interest among the university teaching staff. There were considerable differences in the students’ attitudes between universities, suggesting that medical students are prone to influence from university lecturers.

Conclusions

Norwegian medical students are opinionated, critical and curious with respect to pharmaceutical industry relations. This interest can be explored and probably also modified by educational initiatives.

Keywords

Guidelines National survey Pharmaceutical promotion Questionnaire 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors want to thank The Norwegian University of Science and Technology for financing the project and Professor Stian Lydersen for valuable help with the statistics. The participation from staff and students at the different universities is gratefully acknowledged.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Laboratory Medicine, Children’s and Women’s HealthNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department of Clinical PharmacologySt. Olav’s University HospitalTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.SandnesNorway

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