Odds of Prescribing Drugs Up With Doc Receipt of Payments

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Doctors who receive general payment for cancer drug more likely to prescribe drug marketed by company.
Doctors who receive general payment for cancer drug more likely to prescribe drug marketed by company.

(HealthDay News) -- Physicians receiving general payments from pharmaceutical companies are more likely to prescribe their drugs, according to a research letter published online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Aaron P. Mitchell, MD, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues examined the correlation between oncologists' receipt of payments from pharmaceutical manufacturers and drug selection in two situations where multiple treatment options exist. The two sets of drugs were sorafenib, sunitinib malate, and pazopanib hydrochloride for metastatic renal cell cancer (mRCC) and dasatinib, imatinib mesylate, and nilotinib hydrochloride monohydrate for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Data were included for 354 physicians who prescribed the mRCC drugs and 2225 physicians who prescribed the CML drugs; physicians had at least 20 filled prescriptions among the three drugs in 2014.

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The researchers found that the odds of prescribing a manufacturer's drug were increased among physicians receiving general payment only or either payment type (general or research). For mRCC, but not CML, receipt of research payments was associated with increased prescribing. Considering individual drugs, increased prescribing was seen for receiving versus not receiving general payments for sunitinib, dasatinib, and nilotinib; decreased prescribing of imatinib was seen. The differences were not statistically significant for sorafenib and pazopanib. Research payments were not correlated with any statistically significant differences in prescribing for individual drugs.

"For 3 of the 6 cancer drugs studied, physicians who received general payments were more likely to prescribe the drug marketed by the company that made the payments," the authors write.


Mitchell AP, Winn AN, Dusetzina SB, et al. Pharmaceutical Industry Payments and Oncologists' Selection of Targeted Cancer Therapies in Medicare Beneficiaries. JAMA Intern Med. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.0776

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