An international, collaborative electronic elective course for medical students: Economic and cultural aspects of pharmaceuticals
Reform of the medical curriculum is occurring around the world. Two recurring themes are an emphasis on introducing a broader perspective on health and the need to impart knowledge and skills in new information technology. Groups of medical students from Canada, Sri Lanka, Norway, United Kingdom and Hungary took part in a 10-week 'electronic elective course' on the cultural and economic aspects of drugs and the pharmaceutical industry. The course involved a survey of local pharmacies to identify the most commonly prescribed drugs and their prices, study of selected readings on the cultural and economic aspects of pharmaceuticals, and discussion among participants of the issues raised. Communication was mainly by email discussion between participants. The drugs used and their prices varied substantially, especially between, but also within, the participating countries. The logistical and technical aspects of the course generally worked well. Student evaluation was generally positive, with participants particularly enjoying getting to know future colleagues in other countries. We believe that new communication technologies offer exciting opportunities to broaden medical education and foster international professional understanding.
Østbye, T; Edwards, R; Wickramasinghe, R; Hunskaar, S; Hoffer, G
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