Behavioral psychologists will tell you that none of us are immune from influence both explicit and subtle. Notwithstanding, we’d like to believe that we are free agents. A recent Pro Publica analysis finds evidence to suggest that doctors are influenced by drug company money and gifts.
Not surprisingly, the drug and device companies spend billions on doctors and hospitals. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a database that tracks these dollars by doctor and hospital. In 2014 alone, CMS data reveals that drug and medical device companies spent $6.5 billion on doctors and hospitals.
Pro Publica found that doctors who take money or gifts from the drug and medical device companies tend to prescribe more brand-name drugs than those who do not–two to three times more. Pro Publica further found that the more money the doctors take, the more brand-name prescription drugs they prescribe, notwithstanding the availability of lower-cost generic alternatives.
For example, internists who do not take drug or device money prescribe brand-name prescription drugs 20 percent of the time. Internists who take $5,000 or more prescribe brand-name drugs 30 percent of the time–50 percent more often!
Pro Publica could not show that doctors who took money from a particular company prescribed more of that company’s drugs.
Here’s more from Just Care on drug companies and prescription drugs: