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In the latest look at the financial ties between physicians and drug makers, a new analysis finds that oncologists who received payments for such activities as consulting or speaking were more likely to prescribe medicines sold by those companies.

Specifically, doctors who received either research funding or general payments — which included meals and travel expenses — were nearly twice as likely to prescribe a kidney cancer drug sold by a company that marketed the medicine. And the odds were 29 percent higher that doctors would prescribe a chronic myeloid leukemia sold by a company that provided such payments.


The analysis, which was published in JAMA Internal Medicine, is the latest effort to examine the financial relationships between physicians and the pharmaceutical industry. The interest reflects ongoing concern that such ties may unduly influence medical practice and research which, several years ago, sparked a Congressional probe that led to the creation of the federal government’s OpenPayments database.

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  • as noted and then abandoned, this is correlation. Do pharma companies contract with prescribers as advisors and speakers to get them to Rx their drugs more, or do they contract with prescribers who know and believe in their drugs in order to convey that to fellow prescribers and advise the pharma company how to better communicate the benefits they see to their fellow prescribers? In my experience – especially over the past 15 years or so – it is almost exclusively the latter. Can we please balance the relentless stream of these sorts of correlation stories appropriately?

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