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Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2001 Sep;13(3):159-62.

Newly admitted psychiatric patient prescriptions and pharmaceutical sales visits.

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Department of Psychiatry, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York 13210, USA.


There is much literature regarding the interaction of pharmaceutical sales representatives and physicians. However, there is little information available regarding their interactions with psychiatric residents. This paper attempts to quantify the impact of pharmaceutical sales visits upon prescriptions written for newly admitted patients in a psychiatric residency training clinic. A retrospective chart review of 47 consecutive patients was conducted. At the time of review all included patients had been admitted to the clinic for less than 3 months. Their psychiatric medication regimens were followed for 3 months. Initiation of new psychotropics was recorded. Data was also collected regarding the number of sales visits which typically occur at resident luncheons. Statistical analysis compared the number of new medication starts to the number of sales visits. Twelve pharmaceutical companies made sales visits. Eleven out of 12 companies' visits were statistically associated with an increase in new medication starts (p < 0.05). As the number of sales visits increased, a greater statistical significance was noted. This study is one of the first to quantify pharmaceutical industry's impact on psychiatric residents' prescribing practices. It appears that psychiatric residents preferentially start companies' medications shortly after sales visits. Furthermore, as sales visits increase in frequency, more of their medications may be started in newly admitted psychiatric outpatients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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