Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Study: Gift bans in medical school affect doctors’ later prescribing patterns

News Brief by Prachi Sharma

In a recent study published in BMJ, Yale researchers found that doctors who studied at medical schools that limited the amount of gifts given by pharmaceutical companies to students (such as sponsored lunches, new devices,  and other similar benefits) were less susceptible to drug marketing after graduation. The researchers studied the prescribing practices of doctors who had attended medical schools that utilized a gift ban policy (as of 2004) to those who attended the same school before the policy was implemented. Comparing the number of prescriptions for Vyvanse and Invega, heavily marketed drugs for attention deficit disorder and schizophrenia, to the number of prescriptions for similar, but older drugs, researchers found that those doctors who attended school with the gift ban were less likely to prescribe Vyvanse and Invega compared to doctors who attended the same school before the ban. While the prescription rate of a third drug, Pristiq, was also studied, researchers did not find a significant effect, possibly because the drug is generally less commonly prescribed than Vyvanse and Invega. 

This study comes out in light of a rising trend among medical schools in tightening policies to prevent drug marketing on campuses, in an attempt to reduce the influence these gifts may have on physicians' prescribing practices. 

Reference: Conaboy, Chelsea. "Study: Gift bans in medical school affect doctors’ later prescribing patterns." White Coat Notes 06 Feb 2013. Web. 19 Feb. 2013. .
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