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, 9 (6), e100114

Attitudes and Relationship Between Physicians and the Pharmaceutical Industry in a Public General Hospital in Lima, Peru


Attitudes and Relationship Between Physicians and the Pharmaceutical Industry in a Public General Hospital in Lima, Peru

Aldo De Ferrari et al. PLoS One.


Background: The interaction between physicians and the pharmaceutical industry influences physicians' attitudes and prescribing behavior. Although largely studied in the US, this topic has not been well studied in resource-poor settings, where a close relationship between physicians and industry still exists.

Objective: To describe physician interactions with and attitudes towards the pharmaceutical industry in a public general hospital in Lima, Peru.

Design: Descriptive, cross-sectional study through an anonymous, self-filled questionnaire distributed among faculty and trainee physicians of five different clinical departments working in a Peruvian public general hospital. A transcultural validation of an existing Spanish questionnaire was performed. Exposure to marketing activities, motivations to contact pharmaceutical representatives and attitudes towards industry were studied. Collected data was analyzed by degree of training, clinical department, gender and teaching status. Attitudes were measured on a four-point LIKERT scale.

Results: 155 physicians completed the survey, of which 148 were included in the study sample. 94.5% of attending physicians reported ongoing encounters with pharmaceutical representatives. The most common industry-related activities were receiving medical samples (91.2%), promotional material (87.8%) and attending meetings in restaurants (81.8%). Respondents considered medical samples and continuing medical education the most ethically acceptable benefits. We found significant differences between attendings and residents, and teaching and non-teaching attendings. An association between the amount of encounters with pharmaceutical representatives, and attitudes towards industry and acceptance of medical samples was found.

Conclusions: A close physician-industry relationship exists in the population under study. The contact is established mainly through pharmaceutical representatives. Medical samples are the most received and ethically accepted benefit. The attitudes of physicians on the ethical standards of acceptance of medical samples and other benefits are closely related with their exposure to the pharmaceutical industry. Future studies could explore the motivations of physicians working in resource-poor settings to maintain a close relationship with industry.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: One of the authors of this manuscript, Dr. German Malaga, currently serves as an editor for PLOS ONE. This does not alter the authors' adherence to PLOS ONE Editorial policies and criteria.

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The authors have no support or funding to report.