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Pharma Compliance Info Now There’s Proof: Docs Who Get Company Cash Tend to Prescribe More Brand-Name Meds US Sunshine Act

Now There’s Proof: Docs Who Get Company Cash Tend to Prescribe More Brand-Name Meds

This story was co-published with NPR, the Boston Globe and the Tampa Bay Times.Pharma Compliance Info Now There’s Proof: Docs Who Get Company Cash Tend to Prescribe More Brand-Name Meds US Sunshine Act

Doctors have long disputed that the payments they receive from pharmaceutical companies have any relationship to how they prescribe drugs. There’s been little evidence to settle the matter — until now.
A ProPublica analysis has found for the first time that doctors who receive payments from the medical industry do indeed tend to prescribe drugs differently than their colleagues who don’t. And the more money they receive, on average, the more brand-name medications they prescribe.
We matched records on payments from pharmaceutical and medical device makers in 2014 with corresponding data on doctors’ medication choices in Medicare’s prescription drug program. (You can read our methodology here.)
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. 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.
Doctors who received more than $5,000 from companies in 2014 typically had the highest brand-name prescribing percentages. Among internists who received no payments, for example, the average brand-name prescribing rate was about 20 percent, compared to about 30 percent for those who received more than $5,000.
ProPublica’s analysis doesn’t prove industry payments sway doctors to prescribe particular drugs, or even a particular company’s drugs. Rather, it shows that payments are associated with an approach to prescribing that, writ large, benefits drug companies’ bottom line.

To read the article by Charles Ornstein, Ryann Grochowski Jones and Mike Tigas

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