Nurse Practitioners Influenced By Drug Marketing

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Nurse Practitioner

A new study shows that nurse practitioners may not realize the influence of individual prescribing practices brought about by drug marketing. According to the March publication of the Journal of Advanced Nursing, a study of 84 nurse practitioners showed "low awareness of how marketing by pharmaceutical companies affects clinical decisions and creates conflicts of interest."

Dr Nancy Crigger, from William Jewell College, Missouri, USA, points out that most nurse practitioners are aware when drug companies go overboard, offering resort vacations and office furniture, saying "some marketing activities, promotional items and gifts were less ethical and acceptable than others."

Crigger suggests that many physicians may not be aware of how heavily drug marketing influences prescribing practice. "The influence of marketing on physician prescribing has been widely researched and this indicates that the more involved physicians are in marketing, the less likely they are to recognise when their clinical judgment has been compromised.” She suggests the same susceptibility to drug marketing might be happening to nurse practitioners as the result of increased responsibility for writing patient prescriptions.

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Family nurse practitioners (FNP’s) were asked to fill out questionnaires. The nurse practitioners were chosen randomly by the Missouri State Board of Nursing. Forty- two of the 200 nurse practitioners responded to a 22-question survey that revealed family nurse practitioners might not recognize the influence of drug marketing on prescribing practices.

The majority of family nurse practitioners admitted that drug marketing “sometimes” influences their prescribing practices. Most nurse practitioners recognized when ethical boundaries are crossed by those who market drugs.

Dr. Crigger says the study “points to the need for all FNPs to evaluate their personal attitudes and practices concerning the ethical appropriateness of accepting gifts, meals, educational programs and trips from pharmaceutical companies”. Prescribing decisions for patients should be “based on the best interests of patients and on maintaining the trust of the patients and the public”.

Journal of Advanced Nursing. 65.3, 525-533. (March 2009).



This study of 42 NP hardly represents a sample of the population. The fact the physicians are influenced as well is also stated in the the article . The opening of the article states 84 and in the body it says 42 NP's responded. Of course it is wise for all who perscribe to be aware of external influences but hardly worth that headline. Eileen O'Toole FNP