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Residents’ Perceptions Over Time of Pharmaceutical Industry Interactions and Gifts and the Effect of an Educational Intervention

Schneider, John A. MD, MPH; Arora, Vineet MD, MAPP; Kasza, Kristen MS; Van Harrison, R PhD; Humphrey, Holly MD

doi: 10.1097/01.ACM.0000232408.12648.5a
Pharmaceutical Industry

Purpose: To describe change in residents’ attitudes toward gifts from and interactions with industry and to measure the effects of a formal educational workshop on changes in perceptions.

Method: At the University of Chicago, 118 internal medicine residents completed an observational survey and took part in a controlled intervention across three years (2001–2004) of residency. Four cohorts of residents completing the program in 2004–2007 participated. The intervention was an interactive educational workshop, including reviews of literature and guidelines, and three videos demonstrating routine resident interactions with pharmaceutical representatives. Residents graduating in 2005 were the intervention group and residents graduating in 2004 the comparison group. Analysis of variance and linear regression models were used to determine the relationship between variables.

Results: Residents perceived “lunch sponsored at noon conference” and “pharmaceutical representative brief talk at noon conference” as increasingly appropriate over their training period (p < .02). Residents perceived “pens, notepads, pocket antibiotic guides” as increasingly appropriate and “tickets to sporting events,” “round of golf,” and “travel/registration for national conference” as increasingly inappropriate (p < .05). The intervention group was more likely to rate only one item, “lunch at noon conference,” as less appropriate (p = .042).

Conclusions: Residents’ perceptions toward industry gifts and interactions changed modestly during their training to reflect institutional policy. “Appropriate” gifts of minimal value were generally perceived as increasingly appropriate, whereas “inappropriate” gifts were perceived as increasingly inappropriate over time. An educational workshop alone may not significantly alter residents’ perceptions toward industry without the implementation of broad and consistent institutional policy.

Dr. Schneider is a fellow, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Arora is instructor, Department of Medicine, and assistant dean of curricular innovation, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

Ms. Kasza is biostatistician, Department of Health Studies, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Harrison is professor, Department of Medical Education, and director, Office of Continuing Medical Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Dr. Humphrey is dean of medical education, and professor, Department of Medicine, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Schneider, Department of Medicine, MC 5065, University of Chicago Hospitals, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637; telephone: (773) 702-2710; fax: (773) 702-8998; e-mail: (

© 2006 Association of American Medical Colleges