Do Drug Company Gifts Determine Doctors’ Prescribing Habits?


Do drug company gifts play a role in doctors’ prescribing habits when it comes to a patient’s treatment? A recent study looked at the issue and concluded that doctors who get payments or gifts from drug companies are more likely to prescribe brand name medications.


According to news reports, not only are doctors more likely to prescribe brand name medications, the rate in which doctors prescribed the drugs increased with the amount of gifts or money given. In a time where questions have even arisen regarding the rate of painkiller prescriptions, this new study regarding gifts and prescribing habits shines more light on the prescribing of drugs.


Just recently, health officials expressed concerns regarding how painkillers are being prescribed to treat pain. A group of 60 health officials suggested new guidelines be put in place for the use of painkillers to treat pain. According to that group, the current standards or treatment for pain are too aggressive.


The study found that the benefits doctors received could vary from food subsidies, to getting speaking fees from pharmaceutical companies, to getting payments for continuing education.


Due to the law in some states, doctors have to report what they get from drug companies and under the Affordable Care Act, and an Open Payments database was created to keep track of this data.


Researchers in the study looked at data from 2011 from Massachusetts payment reports dealing with the prescription drug program of Medicare. Of the 2,444 Massachusetts doctors in the Medicare prescription database, about 37% of the doctors received some type of payment from drug companies. 71% of doctors in the reviewed data reported receiving meals paid for by drug companies.


To read more on the study, and for the article in support of this post, click HERE.


Marcus Boston is a Maryland medical malpractice attorney who helps people navigate the Maryland childbirth injury and medical malpractice process to get money for their injuries caused by the carelessness of doctors and hospitals.