Doctors Who Take Money from Drug Companies Prescribe More Expensive Drugs

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When a doctor takes out his or her pad and writes a prescription, patients typically take it for granted that they are being guided towards the most effective medicine available for their problems, regardless of the price.

But a new study by ProPublica, the independent, non-profit news organization, discovered an intriguing finding: Doctors who receive payments from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries tend to prescribe brand-name medications far more than physicians who don’t accept payments, gifts or other honoraria.

Related: Ignoring Warnings, Drug Companies Hike Prices By 10 Percent

Moreover, the larger the payment, the more doctors tend to steer their patients to brand-name drugs instead of less expensive generic drugs that have essentially the same effect, the study found.

“Doctors who got money from drug and device makers—even just a meal– prescribed a higher percentage of brand-name drugs overall than doctors who didn’t, our analysis showed,” according to the report released on Thursday and authored by Charles Ornstein, Ryann Grochowski Jones and Mike Tigas. “Indeed, doctors who received industry payments were two to three times as likely to prescribe brand-name drugs at exceptionally high rates as others in their specialty.”

ProPublica reached this conclusion after comparing records on drug company and medical device manufacturers’ payments to doctors in 2014 with corresponding data on the types of medication that the physicians prescribed under the Medicare program for seniors.

Related: Get Ready for Fireworks Over Soaring Drug Prices

They found that physicians who received more than $5,000 from drug companies and others in 2014 for speeches, meals, consultations or other promotional activities “typically had the highest brand-name prescribing percentages.”

Among those doctors, the rate of brand name prescribing was about 30 percent, compared to just 20 percent for doctors who didn’t accept payments from the drug industry.

Read more: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2016/03/18/Doctors-Who-Take-Money-Drug-Companies-Prescribe-More-Expensive-Drugs

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