How limiting pharmaceutical rep sales visits influences physician prescribing: 4 key notes

Academic medical centers implemented policies limiting pharmaceutical representative sales visits to physicians to assess whether these visits impact physician prescribing patterns, according to a study published in The JAMA Network.

Researchers analyzed nearly 2,126 physicians' 16,121,483 prescriptions between January 2006 and June 2016 from 19 academic medical centers. They matched these figures to 24,593 control group physicians.

Here are four key points:

1. When academic medical centers implemented the policy, they experienced a 1.67 percentage point fall in detailed drugs' market share. They had an 0.84 percentage point increase in the non-detailed drugs' market share.

2. Researchers noted statistically significant associations between prescribing patterns and visits for the following six drugs:
● Lipid-lowering drugs
● Gastroesophageal reflux disease drugs
● Antihypertensive drugs
● Sleep aids
● Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder drugs
● Antidepressant drugs

3. Eleven academic medical centers regulated gifts to physicians restricting salespeople access to their facilities and also had explicit enforcement mechanisms. Eight centers noted a substantial change in prescribing patterns.

4. The findings indicated these policies will restrict pharmaceutical detailing and can yield "modest but significant" reductions in detailed drug prescribing.

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