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The geography of pill companies paying physicians

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A study in ProPublica, the nonprofit news service, found that physicians in Vermont, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine and Massachusetts are  the least likely  to get money  or other compensation from drug companies to encourage the doctors to prescribe their high-priced, brand-name drugs. Interestingly, those states tend to have considerably better health outcomes than in other, usually “Red States” where pharmaceutical companies do better in getting doctors to market their drugs.

Nearly half of Massachusetts doctors in busy specialties received cash payments, meals and/or other compensation, such as fancy trips, from pharmaceutical makers, but the practice appears to have had little impact on their prescribing habits.

The analysis, conducted by ProPublica,  took data collected by the federal government on drug and device company payments to physicians and linked the data to Medicare prescribing information. ProPublica found that  physicians who accepted payments from drug makers  were two to three times more likely  to prescribe high rates of brand-name drugs as opposed to cheaper, generic drugs. The higher the payments on average, the higher the rate of brand-name prescribing.

A growing body  data indicates that payments  affect prescribing habits.





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