Educational Initiatives for Medical and Pharmacy Students about Drug Promotion: An International Cross-Sectional Survey - EDM Research Series No. 036
(2005; 61 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentAcknowledgements
Open this folder and view contentsExecutive summary
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentMethods
Close this folderResults
View the documentSample characteristics
Close this folderHow is education on drug promotion included within the curriculum?
View the documentAmount of education
View the documentTypes of promotion covered
View the documentRegulation and ethics of drug promotion
View the documentEducational techniques
View the documentInvolvement of pharmaceutical sales representatives
Open this folder and view contentsMain objectives for education about drug promotion
View the documentDiscussion
View the documentConclusions
View the documentReferences
View the documentAppendix 1: Sample questionnaire
View the documentAppendix 2: Country breakdown in total

Educational techniques

Table 6 describes the types of educational techniques used, in order of frequency of reports. Lectures and small group discussions in tutorials or workshops were the most frequently reported educational techniques. Similar proportions of pharmacy and medical school respondents reported using each of the listed techniques.

Table 6: Types of educational techniques






82 (90%)

110 (80%)

192 (84%)

Small group discussions in tutorial/workshop

58 (64%)

89 (65%)

147 (65%)

Critical analysis of sample advertisements

42 (46%)

57 (42%)

99 (43%)

Response to case scenarios

25 (28%)

35 (26%)

60 (26%)

Role playing

13 (14%)

14 (10%)

27 (12%)


11 (12%)

16 (12%)

27 (12%)

Table 6a describes the types of techniques used by total reported educational time. There were no significant differences in the proportion who reported using lectures, role playing or response to case scenarios by the amount of time allocated to educational initiatives. The proportion reporting use of small group discussions in tutorials or workshops and critical analysis of sample advertisements did differ, with less use of these techniques among those educating for one half day or less.

Table 6a: Educational techniques used - by time allocated to education about promotion


One half day or less

Four to nine hours

10 or more hours


55 (80%)

55 (83%)

78 (88%)

Small group discussions in tutorial/workshop

26 (38%)

43 (65%)

75 (84%)

Critical analysis of sample advertisements

15 (22%)

33 (50%)

49 (55%)

Response to case scenarios

12 (17%)

17 (26%)

30 (34%)

Role playing

4 (6%)

12 (18%)

10 (11%)


7 (10%)

8 (12%)

11 (12%)

Table 6b lists the educational techniques described other than those listed in the questionnaires.

Table 6b: If they marked "other", what did they say?



Attachment to a Drug Information Service in order to respond to various types of queries involving drug literature evaluation


Critical analysis of materials given to health professionals by sales representatives



Clerkship rotation for 2-3 students a year
Field or video observation
Small group discussions on experiential rotation
Written assignment necessitating research of DTCA. Students report back on pros and cons and then indicate and defend their position on the practice (referenced)


Debates with pharmaceutical representatives/executives on the topics of drug promotion, and clinical research ethics/publication bias
Formal evaluation of an interaction with a sales representative in a large group format
One activity involves a panel discussion with faculty and pro- and anti-industry representation. Another activity drug company representatives detail a faculty member in front of students, which leads to discussion



Evaluations of research articles from peer-reviewed journals
Individual advice


Case studies, e.g. rofecoxib, videos about pharm representatives from UK, India, Australia
Problem-based group discussions; discussions following lectures
WHO video plus exercises

South-East Asia


Practice to explore some information by computer (internet)


By auditing prescriptions the students can get an idea about how many drugs are prescribed as innovator brands, rather than generics
Course is problem-based Learning course. Begins with small group discussion in response to case scenario, followed by mini lecture and Q and A from student’s learning objectives set during small group discussion session
Fixed learning material. Students are given ads, WHO and national ethical criteria, and the British National Formulary and asked to compare and contrast

Western Pacific


Small group assignments and projects
Develop a set of guidelines for Australian pharmacists and their interactions with the industry during a practical session


Analysing impact of funding agency or sponsoring agency or affiliation of authors especially if it involves pharmaceutical industry during critical appraisal or published literature involving drug trials
Clinical attachments
Opportunistic discussions on ward rounds and in clinics
Provision of current references from literature

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