Healthcare

Another Study Finds Link Between Pharma Money and Brand-name Prescribing

With virtually unlimited information available to anyone, why should pharmaceutical companies be advertising directly to the public or making payments to physicians to influence their prescribing? 

Why do we encourage the use (overuse) of prescription mediation?

Why don’t we have a fact based website where physicians and patients can learn about and evaluate the appropriateness of all medications along with their cost?

Why isn’t the US utilizing the power of technology to make health care better coordinated, more efficient, less of an administrative burden on providers and possibly of higher quality? 

A group of researchers at Harvard Medical School has found that medical industry payments to physicians in Massachusetts are associated with higher rates of prescribing brand-name drugs that treat high cholesterol.

The study’s finding, published today in JAMA Internal Medicine, is in line with a ProPublica analysis and story from March, which showed that physicians who receive industry money tend to prescribe higher rates of brand-name drugs — and thus, lower rates of similarly effective, more affordable generic drugs — when compared to peers.

An aim of the study, said lead author Dr. James S. Yeh, was to determine and reduce any industry influence that could produce bad behavior.

“You want your doctors to be objective rather than doing something because there is a financial gain, be it subconscious or conscious,” Yeh said. “That’s not the way we should be doing medicine.”

Yeh added that not all industry relationships with physicians are problematic. Often pharmaceutical companies fund large research projects that could produce advances in medical care.

The Harvard study concluded that physicians’ rate of prescribing brand-name statins — the category of drugs that treat high cholesterol — increased by 0.1 percent for every $1,000 in industry money received. Under $2,000 in payments, there was no significant increase in brand-name prescribing.

The findings, by researchers at Harvard Medical School, are in line with a similar analysis done by ProPublica in March.

Source: Another Study Finds Link Between Pharma Money and Brand-name Prescribing – ProPublica

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4 replies »

  1. With virtually unlimited information available to anyone, why should pharmaceutical companies be advertising directly to the public or making payments to physicians to influence their prescribing?

    It is all about doing business within capitalism, is it not? Why should lobbyists be trolling the halls of Congress to influence the vote of politicians?

    Why do we encourage the use (overuse) of prescription mediation?

    I believe it is because the majority of patients would rather take a pill than change their lifestyle.

    Why don’t we have a fact based website where physicians and patients can learn about and evaluate the appropriateness of all medications along with their cost?

    Good question and good idea. Who would fund this? Who would oversee it?

    Why isn’t the US utilizing the power of technology to make health care better coordinated, more efficient, less of an administrative burden on providers and possibly of higher quality?

    I think the attempt is being made through CMS’s Electronic Health Records Incentive Programs. Unfortunately, there is the financial burden on the cost of doing business.

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  2. Gratuities to doctors for prescribing brand named medicine is a disgrace. I used to have a website that you could enter a doctor’s name and would tell if he/she was receiving any type of gratuity. I checked out my doctors and found that they did not receive any thing. I wish I could find that website again. My wife worked for a doctors office for about 2 years back in the 90’s and it was a constant lunch buffet from various reps. I do think that it has slowed down over the years.

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  3. When my wife worked in a cardiologist office, the various pharmacy representatives would buy lunch for the whole staff every day. It was so bad that they had to schedule which rep was buying on what day.

    My own doctor would give me “sample” packs of drugs, sometimes a week supply. I would turn him down because I have a very good prescription plan coverage and I would tell him give them to his poor patients who can’t afford them.

    I was on a cruise to Alaska, and there was some kind of medical training for CEU that were scheduled during the days we were at sea. I understand the need for CEUs and I too would pick a cruise or a trip to Las Vegas or Disney World but one has to wonder at what cost and who was underwriting the cruise for those medical professionals. There must be a way for the pharmacy companies to provide clinical information about their drugs to doctors and not raise their drug prices 1500%.

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