An innovative approach to educating medical students about pharmaceutical promotion

Acad Med. 2001 Dec;76(12):1271-7. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200112000-00026.


Prescription drugs comprise approximately 9% of the total cost of health care in the United States. The manner in which doctors obtain information about new and changing pharmaceuticals obviously has the potential to have a profound impact on health care costs, pharmaceutical companies' profits, and the quality of health care. Patterns learned in medical school undoubtedly influence physicians' future behaviors. The authors describe an educational program, in which university pharmacists portrayed pharmaceutical company representatives to model a promotional presentation, that they designed to generate critical thinking among third-year medical students regarding the influence of pharmaceutical representatives on the prescribing practices of physicians. The authors also provide information suggesting that the program increased the uncertainty many students felt about the accuracy and ethics of standard drug "detailing."

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advertising*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Data Collection
  • Drug Industry / education*
  • Drug Labeling
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Students, Medical*