- The more payments doctors receive from pharmaceutical and medical device companies, the more brand-name drugs they prescribe, a Pro Public analysis found.
- Culled from Medicare Part D prescription drug data, the findings don’t show a direct link between payments and drugs prescribed, just that the rate of brand prescribing goes up, Fortune reported.
- Medical specialty had no impact on the correlation.
ProPublica analyzed the prescribing practices of physicians in five medical specialties who wrote at least 1,000 prescriptions in Part D. Internists who received more than $5,000 in payments, for example, wrote about 30% of prescriptions for brand-name drugs, compared to 20% for those who received no payments, NPR reported.
The analysis “confirms the prevailing wisdom … that there is a relationship between payments and brand-name prescribing,” Harvard associate professor Aaron Kesselheim, who provided guidance on the analysis, told NPR.
Drug and device companies pay doctors for various reasons, including speaking engagements, travel to events and meals. However, firms must now disclose those payments to the CMS under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act.