Industry Payments to Oncologists Linked to Delivery of Non-Recommended Cancer Drugs
A recent cohort study has investigated the potential influence of pharmaceutical industry payments on the delivery of non-recommended or low value interventions in cancer treatment. The study provides valuable insights into the financial relationships between physicians and the industry, and their potential impact on patient care.
- The study was a cohort study conducted using fee-for-service Medicare claims.
- Participants were Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with incident cancer during 2014-19.
- The study focused on four non-recommended or low value interventions: denosumab for castration sensitive prostate cancer, granulocyte colony stimulating factors (GCSF) for patients at low risk for neutropenic fever, nab-paclitaxel for cancers with no evidence of superiority over paclitaxel, and a branded drug in settings where a generic or biosimilar version was available.
- Oncologists received industry payments for 30.2% of patients at risk for non-recommended denosumab, 28.3% for GCSF, 21.4% for nab-paclitaxel, and 31.2% for branded drugs.
- Patients whose oncologists received payments were more likely to receive non-recommended denosumab, GCSF, and nab-paclitaxel, but less likely to receive branded drugs.
- After controlling for patients’ characteristics and calendar year, industry payments were associated with increased use of denosumab, GCSF, and nab-paclitaxel, but lower use of branded drugs.
According to a report by ProPublica, doctors who received payments from the medical industry were more likely to prescribe brand-name drugs at higher rates than others in their specialty.
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