The French National Authority for Health has translated a guide of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on medical students. The objective, according to the HAS, is to distribute it to students “to develop their critical sense.”
In France, a law passed in 2011 bans future doctors from “accepting any gifts from the industry.” Furthermore, this law “obliges [the laboratories] to make public all the agreements they establish with doctors and students,” to ensure transparency. In spite of this, “the exposure of students to the pharmaceutical industry is frequent, initiated early on and increasing in each year of study,” according to a thesis defended in April 2012 by Stéphanie Baron and Loïc Bourvon. “What we observe above all is that many students find these links with the firms to be natural and few criticize them,” explains Dr Baron.