Medical, pharmacy and nursing students in the Baltic countries: Interactions with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries

Ieva Salmane-Kulikovska, Elita Poplavska (Coresponding Author), Signe Mezinska, Vita Dumpe, Helena Dauvarte, Lina Lazdina, Aleksandr Marchockij, Karolis Varzinskas, Barbara J. Mintzes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Interactions between pharmaceutical and medical device industries and students can lead to commercial influences on educational messages, with a potential to bias future treatment choice. This is the first study in the Baltic countries describing exposure and attitudes of medical, pharmacy and nursing students towards cooperation with industry. Methods: A cross-sectional on-line survey of current medical, pharmacy and nursing students (n = 918) in three Baltic countries was carried out. Results: We found that most students participate in events organized or sponsored by industry and accept a range of gifts and benefits. Students in the Baltic countries consider cooperation with industry important; at the same time, most do not feel that they have sufficient training on how to ethically interact with pharmaceutical and medical device companies and believe that these interactions can influence their prescribing or dispensing patterns. There is a tendency to rationalize cooperation with industry by referring to the current economic situation and patient benefits. Pharmacy students have higher rates of participation and they accept gifts and other benefits more often than nursing or medical students; therefore, they are likely to be more vulnerable to potential industry influence. Conclusions: The findings highlight the need to include topics on ethics and conflicts of interests in cooperation with industry in curriculum of health care students in Baltic countries. Without proper training, students continue to be at risk to industry influence and may develop habits for their further practice differing from evidence-based practice in prescribing and dispensing of medicines, as well as use of medical devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105
JournalBMC Medical Education
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Education
  • Estonia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Medical device industry
  • Medical students
  • Nursing students
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Pharmacy students

Field of Science

  • 3.1 Basic medicine

Publication Type

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database

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