Blog | Tuesday, November 9, 2010

QD: News Every Day--Doctors are cutting ties with industry relationships

Physicians and particularly primary care doctors are reporting fewer industry ties than five years ago, according to a survey.

While 94% of doctors reported some type of perk from a drug or device maker in 2004, 83.8% did in 2009, researchers reported in the Nov. 8 Archives of Internal Medicine.

Christmas present by the Italian voice via FlickrResearchers surveyed a stratified random sample of 2,938 primary care physicians (internal medicine, family practice, and pediatrics) and specialists (cardiology, general surgery, psychiatry and anesthesiology) with a 64.4% response rate.

Of the 83.8% who reported some type of industry relationship:
--70.8% received gifts, primarily food and beverages in their offices (down from 83%),
--63.8% received drug samples (down from 78%),
--18.3% received reimbursements for meetings or free or subsidized admission to CME meetings (down from 35%),
--14.1% received payments for professional services to pharmaceutical companies (down from 28%), and
--the median number of meetings between physicians and industry representatives decreased from three per month to two.

Also, 23.2% of those with at least one industry interaction compared with 35.5% of physicians who didn't had never prescribed a brand-name drug when an equivalent generic was available. And, more frequent industry interactions are significantly and inversely associated with less Medicare spending.

The decline might have been caused by concentrated efforts by schools and hospitals, medical society policies, and the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. But, they added, it's also possible that time constraints on primary care doctors and financial pressure on companies' marketing budgets also contributed to fewer interactions.