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Pharmaceutical industry-sponsored meals associated with higher prescribing rates

Accepting a single pharmaceutical industry-sponsored meal was associated with higher rates of prescribing certain drugs to Medicare patients by physicians, with more, and costlier, meals associated with greater increases in prescribing, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Some argue industry-sponsored meals and payments help facilitate the discussion of novel treatments but others have raised concerns about the potential to influence prescribing patterns. Previous studies have suggested physician-industry relationships were associated with increased prescribing of brand-name drugs.

R. Adams Dudley, M.D., M.B.A., of the University of California, San Francisco, and coauthors linked two national data sets to quantify the association between industry payments and physician prescribing patterns.

Authors identified the most-prescribed brand-name drugs in each of four categories in Medicare Part D in 2013. The target drugs were rosuvastatin calcium among statins, nebivolol among cardioselective β-blockers, olmesartan medoxomil among angiotensin receptor blockers (ACE inhibitors and ARBs), and desvenlafaxine succinate among selective serotonin and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs and SNRIs). The 2013 Open Payments database describes the value and the drug or device promoted for payments to physicians for five months in 2013 as reported by pharmaceutical companies.

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