Nurses not immune from drug industry influence

Consider these statistics:

There are more nurse practitioners (147,000) than there are family physicians (100,000) in the US.

These advance practice nurse professionals can write prescriptions, and it’s estimated that the average nurse practitioner writes more than 6,000 a year.

And about 70-80% of those nurses who regularly attended lunch or dinner “continuing education” events sponsored by drug companies said they were more likely to prescribe the drugs that were highlighted in the lunch.

All of these statistics were presented at last week’s Georgetown conference, “Prescription for Conflict: Should Industry Fund Continuing Medical Education?

The presenter was nurse-researcher Elissa Ladd, PhD, RN, Asst. Clinical Professor, Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions, who says the possible pharma influence on nurse-prescribers has largely flown “under the radar.”


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Shawn Kennedy

July 1, 2010 at 11:23 am

Great post and this is an important topic that needs to be kept on NPs’ radar. But it’s not just an issue for NPs – all nurses need to be aware of the potential for inluence. I’ve continued the discussion on AJN’s blog,


July 1, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Influencing people (doctors, nurses, NPs, PAs, etc) is what sales reps are hired to do. Additionally, this is as American as apple pie. It is, simply stated, the American way.
In many areas, medical practices ‘compete’ for pts, thus they often sell themselves and their services…
Those (providers or reps) who would lie or rep lesser products, don’t last.