Context. - Self-prescription is common among practicing physicians, but little is known about the practice among resident physicians. Objective. - To determine prescription drug use and self-prescription among US resident physicians. Design and Setting. - Anonymous mail survey of all resident physicians in 4 US categorical internal medicine training programs in February 1997. Main Outcome Measures. - Self-reported use of health care services and prescription medications and how they were obtained. Results. - A total of 316 (83%) of 381 residents responded; 244 residents (78%) reported using at least 1 prescription medicine and 162 residents (52%) reported self-prescribing medications. Twenty-five percent of all medications and 42% of self-prescribed medications were obtained from a sample cabinet; 7% of all medications and 11% of self-prescribed medications were obtained directly from a pharmaceutical company representative. Conclusions. - Self- prescription is common among resident physicians. Although self-prescription is difficult to evaluate, the source of these medications and the lack of oversight of medication use raise questions about the practice.
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