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J Gen Intern Med. 1997 October; 12(10): 639–642.
PMCID: PMC1497177

Effects of an Educational Intervention on Residents' Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Interactions with Pharmaceutical Representatives


To assess primary care resident and faculty knowledge and attitudes concerning interactions between physicians and pharmaceutical representatives (PRs) and to measure changes in residents' knowledge and attitudes after an educational intervention, we conducted preintervention and postintervention surveys with a causal-comparative group in a university-based primary care residency program. All primary care internal medicine and internal medicine-pediatrics residents and faculty were given the voluntary survey. In general, residents and faculty demonstrated similar responses for the preintervention survey. Differences between faculty and resident opinions were seen in two areas. Faculty were more likely than residents to believe that PRs sometimes use unethical marketing practices (p < .05) and that the amount of contact with PRs in the outpatient clinic is excessive (p < .01). The postintervention survey of residents demonstrated significant differences between the control and intervention groups for three attitude scales. After the intervention, residents showed an increased belief that PRs may use unethical marketing practices (p < .01), that marketing gifts with no patient benefit may be inappropriate (p=.05), and that other physicians' prescribing patterns could be negatively influenced through the acceptance of gifts (p < .05). A brief educational intervention can change resident attitudes concerning physician interactions with PRs.

Keywords: ethics, pharmaceutical representatives, resident education, marketing

Articles from Journal of General Internal Medicine are provided here courtesy of Society of General Internal Medicine