From the Journals

Do industry payments increase prescribing for some targeted therapies?



Physicians receiving general payments from the company marketing a targeted cancer therapy were more likely to prescribe it in three out of six drugs evaluated, researchers reported.

Prescribing of sunitinib, dasatinib, and nilotinib was increased for physicians receiving such payments versus not receiving them, while prescribing of imatinib, sorafenib, and pazopanib were not, according to the analysis by Aaron P. Mitchell, MD, of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, UNC School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his coauthors.

In previous studies, pharmaceutical industry payments to physicians have been associated with “higher-cost, brand-name pharmaceutical prescribing,” Dr. Mitchell and his colleagues wrote. The report was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“Whether industry payments are associated with physician treatment choice in oncology is uncertain,” they said.

To evaluate the association between payments to oncologists and drug selection, Dr. Mitchell and his colleagues linked Open Payments data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to data from Medicare Part D Prescriber Public Use File for the years 2013-2014.

The primary variable in the study was payments received during 2013, according to investigators, and the primary outcome of the analysis was prescriptions filled during 2014.

Open Payments reported in 2013 had a total dollar value of $4.08 billion, including $1.20 billion paid to physicians, according to CMS data.


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