Pharmaceutical industry support and residency education: a survey of internal medicine program directors

Arch Intern Med. 2010 Feb 22;170(4):356-62. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2009.524.


Background: Interactions with the pharmaceutical industry are known to affect the attitudes and behaviors of medical residents; however, to our knowledge, a nationally representative description of current practices has not been reported.

Methods: The Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine surveyed 381 US internal medicine residency program directors in 2006-2007 regarding pharmaceutical industry support to their training programs. The primary outcome measure was program director report of pharmaceutical financial support to their residency. Demographic and performance variables were analyzed with regard to these responses.

Results: In all, 236 program directors (61.9%) responded to the survey. Of these, 132 (55.9%) reported accepting support from the pharmaceutical industry. One hundred seventy of the 236 program directors (72.0%) expressed the opinion that pharmaceutical support is not desirable. Residency programs were less likely to receive pharmaceutical support when the program director held the opinion that industry support was not acceptable (odds ratio [OR], 0.07; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.02-0.22). Programs located in the southern United States were more likely to accept pharmaceutical support (OR, 8.45; 95% CI, 1.95-36.57). The American Board of Internal Medicine pass rate was inversely associated with acceptance of industry support: each 1% decrease in the pass rate was associated with a 21% increase in the odds of accepting industry support (OR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.07-1.36).

Conclusions: Although most of the program directors did not find pharmaceutical support desirable, more than half reported acceptance of industry support. Acceptance of pharmaceutical industry support was less prevalent among residency programs with a program director who considered support unacceptable and those with higher American Board of Internal Medicine pass rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Drug Industry / economics*
  • Humans
  • Interinstitutional Relations
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Internship and Residency / economics*
  • Organizational Policy
  • Physician Executives / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Training Support / organization & administration*
  • United States