To explore attitudes of physicians from all specialties toward gifts from and interactions with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.
Anonymous, cross-sectional survey distributed and collected between June 1 and September 1, 2008.
Hospitals in the Mount Sinai School of Medicine consortium in the New York, New York, metropolitan area.
Faculty and trainee physicians from all clinical departments.
Main Outcome Measures
Attitudes toward industry interactions and gifts and their appropriateness measured on 4-point Likert scales.
A total of 590 physicians and medical students completed the survey (response rate, 67.0%); 351 (59.5%) were male, 230 (39.0%) were attending physicians, and 131 (23.7%) of 553 (excluding medical students) were from surgical specialties. Attitudes toward industry and gifts were generally positive: 72.2% found sponsored lunches appropriate, whereas 25.4% considered large gifts appropriate. Surgeons, trainees, and those unfamiliar with institutional policies on industry interactions held more positive attitudes than others and were more likely to deem some gifts appropriate, including industry funding of residency programs and, among surgeons, receiving meals, travel expenses, and payments for attending lectures. Nonattending physicians held more positive attitudes toward receiving meals in clinical settings, textbooks, and samples.
Physicians continue to hold positive attitudes toward marketing-oriented activities of the pharmaceutical and device industries. Changes in medical culture and physician education focused on surgeons and trainees may align physician attitudes with current policy trends.