Fact or Fiction? What Healthcare Professionals Need to Know about Pharmaceutical Marketing in the European Union
(2016; 72 pages)


Education about pharmaceutical promotion can afect trainees’ awareness and attitudes, which helps counter the inluence of promotional practices (Norris et al., 2005; Carroll et al., 2007; Lea et al., 2010). Healthcare professionals come into contact with promotional materials during their studies. However, most medical students do not obtain adequate education on how to critically respond to pharmaceutical promotion (Mintzes, 2005; Mansield et al., 2006; Austad et al., 2011). This leaves many healthcare practitioners unprepared for ethically challenging situations that ultimately impact their ability to objectively prescribe, or advise patients about, medicines.

85.2% of medical students recently surveyed in France (n=2,101) reported feeling inadequately educated about conlicts of interest arising from interactions with the pharmaceutical industry (Etain e t la., 2014).

Being able to identify promotional activities and to understand their impact to medical practice enables critical appraisal. In not helping (future) healthcare practitioners to develop such skills, practitioners may be left to interpret misinformation as fact and to prescribe or dispense speciic medicines where other treatment options should be considered.

This guide and associated workshops have been developed to address this oversight by providing an overview of pharmaceutical marketing practices and the ethical issues that arise from them.

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