The Role of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Teaching Psychopharmacology: A Growing Problem
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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.
Literature reviews and discussions with experts, educators, and trainees.
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.
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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