Big Pharma targets Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

According to a recent study in The American Journal of Managed Care, nearly 97% of Nurse Practitioners (NPs) now prescribe medications, and each one of these writes, on average, between 19-25 prescriptions each day.  That’s about 6,200 prescriptions per NP prescriber per year. In addition, Physician Assistants (PAs) are writing more than 250,000,000 prescriptions each year.In total, these health care providers are responsible for a significant whack of drug prescriptions each year.

That’s why organizers of the annual Maximizing Relationships with Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants Summit provide a platform for the pharmaceutical industry to build cozy relationships with all of these NPs & PAs. Here’s what the summit’s pitch promised:  Continue reading

Who’s running the show in industry-sponsored drug trials?

There is strong evidence that medical researchers’ financial ties to their industry funders may directly influence their published positions in supporting the benefit or downplaying the harm of the products they are “studying”. 

For example, there is often a demonstrated difference between internal drug company documents about the research trial results that they fund, and the articles reporting that research that end up in the medical journals that your doctor reads.  The New England Journal of Medicine has referred to this practice as ‘selective outcome reporting’.

But for the sake of clarity, let’s just call it ‘lying’.   Continue reading

Painkiller overdose deaths top those from heroin and cocaine

Almost everything I know about chronic pain I learned while working in hospice palliative care, where pain management was one of the most important components in easing the end-of-life suffering of our patients.  But even before then, one April morning in 1983, I listened to my father’s oncologist tell our family:

 We are reluctant to give him morphine for his pain because it’s addictive.”   

My Dad, who had been diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer, died nine hours after that pronouncement. But at least he wasn’t an addict when he died.  Continue reading