Prescribing costs and budgets

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Editor, – The editorial 'Prescribing budgets: economic, clinical and ethical perspectives' (Aust Prescr 1997;20:28-9) by S.B. Soumerai and D. Ross-Degnan recommended that 'we need to know how to educate physicians'. As a first year medical student, may I suggest you target medical students and their educators.

As well as using drug names, brand names have been used in our problem-based learning cases, with brand names also being used in some lectures. This seems pointless in a teaching environment, especially as we will initially be employed in hospitals which generally do not allow prescribing of brands.

Student concerns about the appropriateness of learning brand names at this stage have been ignored and I feel we have no influence in these matters. To give you an example of the extent of this problem, at our Medical Ball, a staff member gave a short speech during which it was suggested that we support brand names because they sponsor events like the Medical Ball!

Julian Fidge
Graduate medical student
University of Queensland
Herston, Qld