Community physicians’ attitudes towards meetings with representatives of pharmaceutical companies: a pilot study

Amit Koplovitz, Tamar Freud, Roni Peleg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Marketing by pharmaceutical companies has become an increasingly controversial issue for the medical community and the public. This controversy stems from the potential influence that pharmaceutical companies can wield through marketing on the medical community. This study assesses community physicians’ attitudes towards pharmaceutical companies and their representatives to get a better understanding of how their activities affect daily work in community clinics. Methods: A cross-sectional anonymous questionnaire-based study of 170 community physicians in southern Israel was conducted via convenience sampling. The questionnaire was designed to assess physicians’ attitudes about the nature of their relationships with representatives of pharmaceutical companies and possible associations with physicians’ demographic and professional profiles. The questionnaire was distributed, at weekly staff meetings in the study clinics, to a convenience sample of physicians, who agreed to participate in the study. Results: Most physicians did not have an extreme attitude on interactions with representatives of pharmaceutical companies. Interestingly, while they thought that pharmaceutical companies play an important role in medical progress, they did express concern regarding the risk of misleading information. While they believed that interactions between physicians and representatives of pharmaceutical companies had a negative effect on the clinic workflow, they were not in favor of prohibiting such interactions. Physicians who graduated from medical schools in Israel held a less sympathetic position towards these interactions. Conclusion: The anticipated heterogeneous attitudes of community-based physicians on interactions with representatives of pharmaceutical companies reflect an inherent complex relationship, with aspects that are specific to the Israeli medical field. Interestingly, physicians trained in other countries than Israel also have divergent attitudes, further affecting the socio-cultural impact on practitioner’s attitudes towards this intricate and often politicized topic. Open professional dialogue and targeted educational programs on the physician–pharmaceutical relationship, with more explicit regulation, could potentially ease the discomfort experienced by physicians, especially in the Israeli context and result in a clearer framework of interaction that would leverage the potential advantages while accounting for ethical and regulatory pitfalls.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • Community physicians
  • Conflict of interest
  • Marketing
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Representatives of pharmaceutical companies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Health Policy


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