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The influence of pharmaceutical industry (PI) on clinical practice and research in psychiatry has been considered a serious problem. Strict rules and guidelines were developed to regulate the interactions between doctors and PI. However, there is an ongoing debate whether these were thoroughly implemented in practice and internalized by physicians. The objective of our study was to assess the attitudes and behaviors of trainees in psychiatry and child & adolescent psychiatry toward PI across Europe. Methodologically, a validated questionnaire with additional items was administered to1444 trainees in 20 European countries. The minimum response rate was set at 60%. We found a high variation across countries in number of interactions between trainees and PI representatives; Portugal and Turkey had the highest number of interactions. The majority (59.76%) agreed that interactions with PI representatives have an impact on physicians’ prescribing behavior; whereas only 29.26% and 19.79% agreed interactions with PI representatives and gifts from PI have impact on their own prescribing behavior, respectively. Most of the gifts were considered appropriate by the majority, except tickets to vacation spot and social dinner at a restaurant. Of the sample, 70.76% think they have not been given sufficient training regarding how to interact with PI representatives. Only less than 20% indicated they have guidelines at institutional or national level. In conclusion, there is substantial interaction between trainees and PI across countries. The majority feel inadequately trained regarding professional interaction with PI, and believes they are immune to the influence of PI.
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.
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