the nursing programs are attractive to the drugmakers because they help hold patients to the recommended drug regimen. Patients with progressive illnesses such as MS and diabetes are supposed to stay on medicines for their whole lives, but many quit because they feel no symptoms, or because the therapy adds to their discomfort. Jaideep Bajaj, a Princeton (N.J.) managing director at medical marketing consultant ZS Associates, estimates that this sort of patient noncompliance may deprive the drug industry of $30 billion in sales each year. The nurses, in short, serve companies and patients alike. "In principle, this sounds like a win-win situation," says George J. Annas, a professor of health law and bioethics at Boston University's School of Public Health.
Of course, the fact that they get paid a lot more to do this than they would at a regular nursing job won't help with the growing nursing shortage, and probably adds to the cost of the drugs. Where does this fit on the conflict of interest scale?