Washington, DC—Pharmacists remain among the top five professionals in terms of honesty and ethical standards, according to a survey.

For the 16th consecutive year, the list of 22 professions was led by nurses, with 82% of respondents describing nurses’ ethics as “very high” or “high,” a Gallup poll revealed. Pharmacists came in at number five, with 62% of Americans rating their honesty and ethical standards as very high/high, 32% as average, and 6% as very low/low.

The news was not all good, however. While the honesty rating of pharmacists remains high on an absolute basis, it dropped five points from last year. Noting that the rating is at its lowest point since 1994, the Gallup pollsters suggest the nationwide opioid crisis could be the cause of the decline.

Despite that, physicians rated slightly higher than pharmacists at 62%, very high/high, putting them in the fourth slot. Military officers and grade school teachers were two and three, respectively.

Last year, pharmacists were listed second as the most honest and ethical profession.  Pharmacists were ranked as very high or high on those measures by 67% of those surveyed in the 2016 poll. Nurses ranked first at 84%, and medical doctors received 65% at that time.

“Three of the professions rated highest for honesty and ethical standards are in the healthcare field—nurses, medical doctors and pharmacists—a trend that has been the case in recent years,” Gallup pollsters write. “Yet, pharmacists, who were at the top of the list of honest professions for years, have taken a slight downturn in the last year as the U.S. opioid epidemic has become increasingly problematic, leading President Donald Trump to declare it a public health emergency.”

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted December 4-11, 2017, with a random sample of 1,049 adults, aged 18 years and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. 

All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

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