MDs and NPs Prescribing Habits

The stats indicate these providers are basically on par with physicians. Numerous studies show NPs/PAs prescribe as often as MDs and are not simply relegated to paperwork and taking vitals nor are they handing out scripts when they shouldn’t. In a National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, there were no differences among MDs, NPs, and PAs in the percentages of visits in which drugs or immunizations were prescribed and labs or other tests were ordered. At least two other studies had similar results with the exception of one finding that NPs wrote significantly more prescriptions in rural areas.

Pharma Insults NPs/PAs

You don’t have to search far on Facebook groups, blogs, and other outlets to find the frustration NPs and PAs express about being referred to with words that seem to indicate their care is less important or below that of MDs. NPs and PAs pride themselves on the level of education, care and outcomes they provide patients. For pharma marketing and sales, it’s so important to address NPs/PAs correctly.

Which HCPs Doubled Script Writing?

While total prescriptions in 2015 only rose by 1%, the number of scripts written by NPs and PAs more than doubled over the past five years and this is likely a very conservative estimate. A new study by IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics released this year estimates that retail prescriptions written by NPs and PAs topped 676 million in 2015, but the real number is likely over. billion according to AANP and AAPA stats.

Top Prescribers

Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants are among the top prescribers for some drugs. For example, for Olysio (a hepatitis treatment), three of the top twelve prescribers on Medicare claims are Nurse Practitioners according to propublica.org.

Pill Color Matters

Patients are up to 50% more likely to stop taking a medication if its color changes, which often happens when a script is refilled with a generic. Pharma brand managers and market researchers need to pay careful attention to color of product and marketing materials. Why? Color can create emotional associations, maintain brand consistency, differentiate from competitors and reduce medical errors.
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