Survey: Most family medicine residencies restrict interactions between trainees, industry

March 24, 2011

A national survey of U.S. family medicine residency programs finds that most limit pharmaceutical and other industry interactions with residents while many exclude all interactions. The results, published in the May issue of Academic Medicine, suggest a major shift away from acceptance of food, gifts, samples, and industry-supported events. The survey was a joint effort between Georgetown University Medical Center and the American Medical Student Association (AMSA).

There are more than 400 accredited family medicine residency programs in the country . responsible for training family medicine physicians. Previous studies suggest that almost all physicians-in-training (medical students and residents) have interacted in some way with pharmaceutical, medical device or biotechnology companies. Research shows that interactions -- meeting with representatives; accepting gifts, food, and samples; and sponsored talks -- between industry and trainees, as they develop their practice habits, -- - affect prescribing patterns.

"There isn't any evidence that pharmaceutical representatives provide objective information to trainees," says Adriane Fugh-Berman, M.D., a professor of pharmacology at Georgetown University Medical Center. "To the contrary, studies have shown that the information they provide favors targeted drugs and that many assertions reps make are inconsistent with FDA-approved prescribing information."

In 2008, study authors sent our a four-question survey to the directors or coordinators of all 460 accredited family medicine residency programs.

The survey comprised the following questions:

  1. Does the residency allow gifts from industry or industry-supported food?
  2. Are drug samples accepted?
  3. Are industry representatives allowed access to medical students and/or residents at the family medicine center?
  4. Are any industry-sponsored residency activities allowed?
Additional space was provided on the survey for comments.

More than half (62.2 percent) of the programs submitted a response. Among responding family medicine residency programs, 52.1 percent reported that they refused , 48.6 percent disallowed industry gifts or food, 68.5 percent did not allow industry-sponsored residency activities, and 44.1 percent denied industry access to students and residents at the family medicine center.

Seventy-five residencies (26.2 percent) were designated as "pharma-free," meaning they didn't allow any of the activities described.

"Family medicine is leading the way in closing the door on pharma," Fugh-Berman says. "We were surprised that so many residencies were refusing all industry perks." She adds that a 1992 study found that 90 percent of family medicine residencies allowed industry support.

"Our allowed for comments so we know that some residency programs report recent changes in plans or practices to limit industry interaction. Although some faculty and some residents are opposed to these limits, it's clear that industry influence on family medicine residencies is waning."

The study's authors concluded that industry interactions can have adverse effects on rational prescribing and residency programs should assess the benefits and harms of these relationships.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.