Warning as drug firms target nurses
Targeting of nurses by pharmaceutical companies must be addressed following extension of nurse prescribing rights, experts are warning.
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry is reacting to the expansion of nurse prescribing with a new drive to ensure all nurses are aware of its code of practice.
It follows new research demonstrating that contact between nurses and pharmaceutical industry reps runs at a far higher level than many had thought.
An analysis of student mental health nurses found 80 per cent had accepted some form of 'gift' from the industry – and only 11.5 per cent believed it was unacceptable to do so.
Russell Ashmore, a lecturer in nursing at Sheffield Hallam University and one of the study researchers, said it showed companies had 'at least the potential' to influence nurse prescribing and called for a debate on the issue.
'The findings suggest students have significant contact with the industry,' he warned, writing in Nurse Education Today.
A Pfizer spokesperson said: 'Pfizer policy on interaction with health professionals applies equally to nurse prescribers and doctors and it is in this context that we are currently assessing how we will work with this new group of prescribers to meet their needs.'
Dr Des Spence, a GP in Glasgow who runs the No Free Lunch UK campaign, said: 'The industry will, understandably perhaps, target people who have prescribing rights. They have known that nurses do a lot of the prescribing by proxy anyway.'