Payments to doctors linked to prescription practices for two cancer types
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CHAPEL HILL — Physicians who received payment from pharmaceutical companies for meals, talks and travel were more likely to prescribe those companies’ drugs for two cancer types, a University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center-led study has found.

The study was published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine. The preliminary findings were presented last year at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Annual Meeting.

“The main takeaway is that oncologists who received money from a pharmaceutical company were more likely to choose that company’s drug the following year,” said Aaron Mitchell, MD, a fellow in the UNC School of Medicine Division of Hematology & Oncology, and the study’s lead author.

For the study, researchers analyzed prescriptions for Medicare patients with two cancers where there are multiple treatment options: metastatic renal cell cancer (kidney cancer), and chronic myeloid leukemia, a blood cancer.

The researchers used publicly available data from 2013 to 2014 that was reported through Open Payments, a provision of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that required U.S. drug and device manufacturers to disclose transfers of financial value greater than $10 to physicians and teaching hospitals.

Compared to physicians who

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