Study: Docs Prescribe More Expensive Drugs Than Needed

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Sometimes it's because patients request it. Sometimes it's because the doctors get free stuff.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports…

More than a third of doctors said they prescribe brand name drugs simply because patients ask for them even when cheaper generics would be appropriate, according to a new study.

The practice, which can contribute to higher health care costs, was found to be more likely among doctors who received free drug samples or free food from drug companies or who had financial relationships with drug companies.

The researchers think it’s higher than that and that some doctors wouldn’t admit to doing it. The study included responses from about 1,900 doctors. (A thousand more didn’t respond.) The medical specialties where name brand prescriptions were most common are  internal medicine and psychiatry.

The main difference between generic and name brand prescriptions is often price, and that can be fourfold as the article points out: 30 tablets of the painkiller Percocet are $217, but the generic equivalent is just $52.

Stacy Johnson

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