Study: 37% of Physicians Give in to Patients' Demands for Brand-Name Drugs

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Thirty-seven percent of physicians sometimes or often give in to patients' demands for brand-name drugs when equivalent generic drugs are available, according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine, formerly Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers studied physicians' prescribing decisions using data from 1,891 physicians in seven specialties who responded to a national survey. Overall, 37 percent of physicians sometimes or often gave in to patients' requests for brand-name drugs. Among physicians in practice for more than 10 years, this percent rose to 43 percent, compared with 31 percent of physicians in practice for 10 years or less.

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The study identified several factors associated with capitulation to patients' request for brand-name drugs:

•    Pediatricians, anesthesiologists, cardiologists and general surgeons were significantly less likely to give in than were internal medicine physicians.
•    Physicians in solo or two-person practices were more likely to give in than were those working in a hospital or medical school setting, with rates of 46 percent and 35 percent, respectively.
•    Thirty-nine percent of physicians who received free food and/or beverages in the workplace from drug companies (industry) yielded to patients' demands for brand-name drugs compared with 33 percent who did not receive these items.
•    Forty percent of physicians who received drug samples from companies gave in compared with 31 percent of those who did not receive samples.
•    Forty-percent of physicians who often met with industry representatives to stay up-to-date gave in compared with 34 percent of physicians who did not meet with representatives.

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