When pharmaceutical companies market their products to, and through, healthcare professionals in hospitals and private practice, healthcare professionals face ethical dilemmas in their practice and their organizations. Pharmaceutical companies target nurse practitioners with prescribing privileges. The author describes the ethical dilemma faced by healthcare professionals when friendly salespeople offer tempting gifts. The article outlines cultural responses to gift giving and ethical issues surrounding healthcare professionals’ responses to pharmaceutical marketing strategies. Nurse administrators need to acknowledge a growing threat to nursing integrity. Nurse administrators have the power to make and enforce ethical policies that prevent proprietary influences from clouding nursing judgment and contributing to the escalating costs of prescription medications.
Author affiliation: Patient Health Education, VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, New York, NY.
Corresponding author: Charlene L. Stokamer, MPH, MSN, 117 Oakdene Avenue, Leonia, NJ 07605.