Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 222–229

The Role of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Teaching Psychopharmacology: A Growing Problem

Perspective

Abstract

Objective

To describe and examine the role of the pharmaceutical industry in the teaching of psychopharmacology to residents and medical students and to make recommendations for changes in curriculum and policy based on these findings.

Methods

Literature reviews and discussions with experts, educators, and trainees.

Results

The pharmaceutical industry currently plays an extensive role in teaching psychopharmacology to trainees, both directly and indirectly. Attendance at industry-sponsored lectures and drug lunches, meetings with pharmaceutical representatives, and interactions involving the acceptance of various gifts are the most obvious venues. Less apparent but equally pervasive are the influence of industry-sponsored faculty and research and industry’s effect on the climate of practice and the profession as a whole. Replacing medical education with industry promotion in the guise of scholarship causes demonstrable harm to trainees, the public and the profession.

Conclusions

In light of these findings, the medical profession must reassert control of medical education and draw a firm barrier between commercial and professional pursuits. These issues must be actively, explicitly, and rigorously discussed with our colleagues and students.

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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Pennsylvania Medical SchoolPhiladelphiaUSA

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