Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 April 2020
Interactions between the pharmaceutical industry (PI) and psychiatrists have been under scrutiny recently, though there is little empirical evidence on the nature of the relationship and its intensity at psychiatry trainee level. We therefore studied the level of PI interactions and the underlying beliefs and attitudes in a large sample of European psychiatric trainees.
One thousand four hundred and forty-four psychiatric trainees in 20 European countries were assessed cross-sectionally, with a 62-item questionnaire.
The total number of PI interactions in the preceding two months varied between countries, with least interactions in The Netherlands (M (Mean) = 0.92, SD = 1.44, range = 0–12) and most in Portugal (M = 19.06, SD = 17.44, range = 0–100). Trainees were more likely to believe that PI interactions have no impact on their own prescribing behaviour than that of other physicians (M = 3.30, SD = 1.26 vs. M = 2.39, SD = 1.06 on a 5-point Likert scale: 1 “completely disagree” to 5 “completely agree”). Assigning an educational role to the pharmaceutical industry was associated with more interactions and higher gift value (IRR (incidence rate ratio) = 1.21, 95%CI = 1.12–1.30 and OR = 1.18, 95%CI = 1.02–1.37).
There are frequent interactions between European psychiatric trainees and the PI, with significant variation between countries. We identified several factors affecting this interaction, including attribution of an educational role to the PI. Creating alternative educational opportunities and specific training dedicated to PI interactions may therefore help to reduce the impact of the PI on psychiatric training.