A new study from Harvard Medical School and published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that medical industry payments to physicians were associated with higher rates of brand name prescribing. In this particular case, the researchers looked at cholesterol medication prescriptions. Although they only assessed doctors in Massachusetts, the results are consistent with previous efforts (notably from ProPublica) to qualify the relationship between industry payments and clinical practice. The Harvard study concluded that physicians’ rate of prescribing brand-name statins increased by 0.1 percent for every $1,000 in industry money received. Under $2,000 in payments, there was no significant increase in brand-name prescribing. The branded drugs were two to four times more expensive than generics.
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