The ethics of pharmaceutical industry relationships with medical students

Wendy A Rogers, Peter R Mansfield, Annette J Braunack-Mayer and Jon N Jureidini
Med J Aust 2004; 180 (8): 411-414.


  • Little research has been done on the extent of the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and medical students, and the effect on students of receiving gifts.

  • Potential harms to patients are documented elsewhere; we focus on potential harms to students.

  • Students who receive gifts may believe that they are receiving something for nothing, contributing to a sense of entitlement that is not in the best interests of their moral development as doctors.

  • Alternatively, students may be subject to recognised or unrecognised reciprocal obligations that potentially influence their decision making.

  • Medical educators have a duty of care to protect students from influence by pharmaceutical companies.

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  • Wendy A Rogers1
  • Peter R Mansfield2
  • Annette J Braunack-Mayer3
  • Jon N Jureidini4

  • 1 Department of Medical Education, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA.
  • 2 Healthy Skepticism, Willunga, SA.
  • 3 Department of Public Health, University of Adelaide, SA.
  • 4 Department of Psychological Medicine, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, North Adelaide, SA.



Wendy Rogers was supported by an NHMRC fellowship during the preparation of this article. Peter Mansfield is supported by an NHMRC Public Health Postgraduate Scholarship.

Competing interests:

Peter Mansfield and Jon Jureidini are Director and Chair, respectively, of Healthy Skepticism, an organisation that aims to improve health by reducing harm from misleading drug promotion. The content of the article and decision to submit were the sole responsibility of the authors.

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