Background: Medical students attending schools with policies limiting industry/student interactions report fewer relationships with pharmaceutical representatives.
Objective: To investigate whether associations between students' medical school policies and their more limited industry interaction behaviors persist into residency.
Methods: We randomly sampled 1800 third-year residents who graduated from 120 allopathic US-based medical schools, using the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile. We surveyed them in 2011 to determine self-reported behavior and preferences for brand-name prescriptions, and we calculated the strength of their medical schools' industry interaction policies using the 2008 American Medical Student Association and Institute on Medicine as a Profession databases. We used logistic regression to estimate the association between strength of school policies and residents' behaviors with adjustments for class size, postresidency career plan, and concern about medical school debt.
Results: We achieved a 44% survey response rate (n = 739). Residents who graduated from schools with restrictive policies were no more or less likely to accept industry gifts or industry-sponsored meals, speak with marketing representative about drug products, attend industry-sponsored lectures, or prefer brand-name medications than residents who graduated from schools with less restrictive policies. Residents who correctly answered evidence-based prescription questions were about 30% less likely to have attended industry-sponsored lectures (OR = 0.72, 95% CI 0.56-0.98).
Conclusions: Any effect that medical school industry interaction policies had on insulating students from pharmaceutical marketing did not persist in the behavior of residents in our sample. This suggests that residency training environments are important in influencing behavior.