Physician Practice

Study finds one free meal can influence physicians

Physician Practice Insider, December 27, 2016

A new study has found that physicians can be swayed to prescribe new prescription drugs for pharmaceutical companies after the pharma company buys the physician just one meal.

The study, published in the June issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, found that even one meal costing less than $20 can help influence a physician to prescribe a new medication being marketed by a pharmaceutical firm. The results of the study, conducted by researchers at The University of California, San Francisco, were criticized by pharmaceutical manufacturers, who suggested that researchers deliberately chose data that would skew the results.

“Whether it’s a formal dinner or a brief lunch in a doctor’s office, these encounters are an opportunity for drug company representatives to discuss products with physicians and their staff,” says Adams Dudley, MD, MBA, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Healthcare Values at UC San Francisco and a senior scientist on the study. “The meals may influence physicians’ prescribing decisions.”

The study, titled Pharmaceutical Industry-Sponsored Meals and Prescribing Patterns for Medicare Beneficiaries, investigated the association between industry-sponsored meals and the rate of prescribing brand-name drugs promoted to physicians by the pharmaceutical companies.

This article was originally published in Physician Practice Perspectives. Subscribers can read the full article in the September 2016 issue.

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