In the latest attempt to examine financial ties between physicians and drug makers, a new study finds that oncologists who received payments for meals, travel, and consulting were more likely to prescribe medicines sold by the companies who provided the largesse.

Specifically, the odds were 78 percent greater that oncologists would prescribe certain brand-name drugs for treating renal cell carcinoma if they had received some type of payment from one of the manufacturers. And the odds were 29 percent higher they would prescribe certain brand-name medicines for treating chronic myeloid leukemia if they had received a payment.

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  • Sounds like junk science to me. The causality could just as easily be going in the other direction: Experienced physicians who prescribed a certain therapy are more likely to receive honoraria from a pharma company to talk with peers. Also, oncologists earn $400K+…but $500 can make them change their clinical judgement? Seriously, STAT should have higher standards.

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    • Hi Adam,
      Fair point. I agree the average payment was small, although the percentages indicating prescribing patterns are interesting. In any event, the researchers acknowledge more work should be done. They call it a proof of principle study, fwiw.

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