Payments to Doctors: Misinformation via the Web

8532826-a-prescription-pill-bottle-with-rolls-of-cash-in-it--concept-or-metaphor-for-cost-of-drugsPOST SUMMARY: Physicians do not prescribe an Rx because they are getting paid by drug companies.  Actually, they are more likely to prescribe a certain product because of insurance companies and managed care incentives.

The stories are all over the Internet; payments to doctors from drug companies mean your doctor is prescribing a product because they are getting a check.  This folks is pure BS.

First, let’s look at some facts..

(1) It is estimated that 85% of all prescriptions are filled with generic drugs.  However, generic drug manufacturers have been rising, prices and there are some issues when it comes to the quality of generic drugs.

Generic_Drugs_Change_in_NADAC_per_Unit_July2013_vs_July2014

(2) Insurance companies and managed care are having a bigger say in what physicians prescribe and in some cases they are offering doctors financial incentives to write specific drugs.  Insurers are changing how they pay for cancer care, aiming to blunt soaring costs and push oncologists to adhere to standardized treatment guidelines

(3) When drug companies use physicians for speaking engagements the physician prepares the talking points not the drug company.  The drug company can fact check talking points but not prepare the lecture.

(4) Doctors are under more and more pressure to ensure their practice remains profitable.  They have to hire more people to do the required paperwork and often can’t spend the time they like with patients.

(5) Medicine’s Top Earners Are Not the M.D.s – The base pay of insurance executives, hospital executives and even hospital administrators often far outstrips doctors’ salaries, according to an analysis performed for The New York Times by Compdata Surveys: $584,000 on average for an insurance chief executive officer, $386,000 for a hospital C.E.O. and $237,000 for a hospital administrator, compared with $306,000 for a surgeon and $185,000 for a general doctor.

Finally more and more doctors are being compensated by patient outcomes which means that it’s in their best interest to prescribe the right medication(s).  If you believe your doctor is writing an Rx because he or she is on drug company payrolls, then you have a bigger issue with health care.