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Education for Trainees May Counter Drug-Industry Pressure

Seminars, role playing and focused curricula may have a positive effect on medical trainees

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In academic medical centers, educational interventions may help foster attitudes and behaviors in medical trainees that help them resist pressure from the pharmaceutical industry, according to the results of a study published in the December issue of Pediatrics.

Aaron E. Carroll, M.D., of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, and colleagues reviewed 12 articles, 10 of which evaluated simple and complex educational interventions developed by training programs or schools to shape trainee knowledge, attitudes or practices, and two of which assessed the impact of regulatory policies on trainee attitudes and/or behaviors.

The researchers found that pharmaceutical industry strategies often affect trainee attitudes and behaviors, and found evidence that drug samples can alter prescribing practices, free gifts and industry-designed curricula can create favorable impressions of the pharmaceutical industry, and that factually correct but misleading information provided by pharmaceutical representatives can cause undesirable changes in behavior. But they also found evidence that educational interventions can help counter industry pressure.

"Although modest in size, a body of empirical research exists that might inform medical educators," the authors conclude. "Beyond institutional policy that excludes the pharmaceutical industry, the evidence reviewed suggests that well-designed seminars, role playing, and focused curricula can affect trainee attitudes and behavior, although it is not entirely clear whether these changes are sustainable over the long term."

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