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.
Rogers, W. A., Mansfield, P. R., Braunack-Mayer, A. J. & Jureidini, J. N. (2004). The ethics of pharmaceutical industry relationships with medical students. Medical Journal of Australia, 180 (8), 411-414.