Optometry Students’ Exposure to and Perspectives on Pharmaceutical Industry Gifts and Interactions

 Jessica Neuville, OD, FAAO 
Brianne Hobbs, OD, FAAO

 

Abstract: 

Relationships between doctors of optometry and the pharmaceutical industry have the potential to create conflicts of interest. The purpose of this study was to evaluate optometry students’ exposure to and perspectives on doctor-industry relationships. The results of an online survey showed that optometry students have substantial exposure to industry through meals, educational gifts, and sponsored trips. Perceptions differed among students regarding the appropriateness and influence of gifts. Students overwhelmingly believed that faculty members are immune to the influence of industry gifts and reported that their prescribing habits mirrored that of their faculty members. The results of this study have important implications for optometric educators. 

Key Words: Pharmaceutical industry, conflict of interest, optometry students

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