Physicians more likely to prescribe drugs of manufacturers who paid them money

In a study published in The Oncologist, physicians treating certain cancers who consistently received payments from a cancer drug's manufacturer were more likely to prescribe that drug over alternative treatments.

The study evaluated physician prescribing of orally-administered cancer drugs in 2013 through 2015 for four cancers: prostate cancer (abiraterone, enzalutamide), kidney cancer (axitinib, everolimus, pazopanib, sorafenib, sunitinib), lung cancer (afatinib, erlotinib), and chronic myeloid leukemia (dasatinib, imatinib, nilotinib).

Among the 2,766 physicians in the study, those who received payments for a drug within three consecutive years had increased prescribing of that drug for kidney cancer, chronic myeloid leukemia, and lung cancer, but not for prostate cancer.

"These findings add to a growing body of work that suggests physicians are more likely to use drugs made by companies that have given them money in the past," said lead author Dr. Aaron Mitchell, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

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