“Is This a Drug?” Answers From Medical Students in a Tertiary Care Teaching Hospital in Eastern India FC10-FC13
Dr. Ananya Mandal,
41B, Dr. G.S. Bose Road, Kolkata – 700039, India.
Introduction: World Health Organization (WHO) defines what is drug and what is not. Second year MBBS students learn the principles of Pharmacology that they use in their later clinical practice life. The aim of the survey was to determine how medical students classify a range of preparations they might encounter in their professional lives and whether a brand name or a commercial preparation of a drug would influence their decision in the categorization of the preparation as a ‘drug’ or ‘not a drug’.
Aim: To assess the knowledge of medical students, if a substance or product is a drug.
Materials and Methods: We surveyed 2 concurrent years of medical students to classify 60 candidate medicinal preparations into “drug” and “not-drug” from a validated questionnaire. The candidate preparations were named either in generic or in their commercially available forms and they were all essential drugs as per WHO definition.
Results: The two groups of students, A and B, included 192 and 215 students respectively. Demographically there was little difference in the two groups. Agents like Aspirin, Paracetamol, Amphetamine, Salbutamol, Atropine, Dextromethorphan, Codeine, Diazepam, Ciprofloxacin ear drops, Levonorgestrol, Neosporin eye ointment, Furosemide, Metronidazole, Penicillin, Sorbitrate, Lignocaine, Methotrexate, Penicillin, Zolpidem and Thalidomide received almost unanimous votes as drugs. Arsenic trioxide, Fentanyl and petroleum jelly were considered to be “non-drugs” by most participants. The two groups did not differ significantly in their responses.
Conclusion: Some major lacunae were noted in the knowledge of the participating students despite book teaching on the definition of a drug. Drugs used for prophylaxis and those used in physiological conditions or topically, were often missed. These gaps need to be filled by more emphasis on definition of a drug and its clinical applicability based on example and case based studies.