Uneasy subjects: Medical students' conflicts over the pharmaceutical industry.

Social science & medicine (1982)

PubMedID: 24922608

Holloway K. Uneasy subjects: Medical students' conflicts over the pharmaceutical industry. Soc Sci Med. 2014;114C113-120.
In this article I report on an investigation of the pharmaceutical industry's influence in medical education. Findings are based on fifty semi-structured interviews with medical students in the United States and Canada conducted between 2010 and 2013. Participant responses support the survey-based literature demonstrating that there is clear and pervasive influence of the pharmaceutical industry in medical education. They also challenge the theory that medical students feel entitled to industry gifts and uncritically accept industry presence. I investigate how medical students who are critical of the pharmaceutical industry negotiate its presence in the course of their medical education. Findings suggest that these participants do not simply absorb industry presence, but interpret it and respond in complex ways. Participants were uncomfortable with industry influence throughout their medical training and found multifaceted ways to resist. They struggled with power relations in medical training and the prevailing notion that industry presence is a normal part of medical education. I argue that this pervasive norm of industry presence is located in neoliberal structural transformations within and outside both education and medicine. The idea that industry presence is normal and inevitable represents a challenge for students who are critical of industry.