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Nurses courted by pharmaceutical companies, given financial incentives

New data shows that pharmaceutical companies are increasingly targeting non-prescribing health professionals, such as nurses, with financial gifts.

Payments to doctors by pharmaceutical companies is commonplace and widely accepted, and there is currently no governmental regulation surrounding these types of payments. But this new data raises some ethical issues.

The University of Sydney has analysed publicly available data of payments to health professionals, submitted by the pharmaceutical companies and submitted to regulator Medicines Australia.

Looking at the period between October 2015 and April 2018, 14,018 healthcare professionals received over $62 million in payments from pharmaceutical companies.

Of that number, 17.8 per cent were found to be nurses.

Lead author Emily Karanges from USYD said: “There is a mistaken idea that non-prescribing healthcare professionals don’t have much influence on medicine use, therefore their pharmaceutical industry ties aren’t that important.

“Yet healthcare professionals like nurses and pharmacists often assist with medication choice and encourage adherence to treatment – and the roles they play in chronic disease management are expanding too.”

Karanges joined Nursing Review to discuss her findings.

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