Healthcare Business News
 

Pharma seen as too influential, survey finds


By Shawn Rhea
Posted: August 24, 2010 - 10:00 am ET
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Doctors are too eager to prescribe drugs in place of effective non-pharmaceutical disease-management options, according to 50% of respondents to a Consumer Reports prescription drug poll.

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The poll, which surveyed more than 1,150 adults who take prescriptions, also found that 69% of respondents say drugmakers have too much influence on doctors' prescribing decisions. The vast majority of consumers are concerned about drug safety, with 87% saying the safety of a prescription drug is a top priority for them. Seventy-nine percent said drug interactions are a concern and 78% said they care about drug side effects.

Consumers responding to the poll expressed significant concern over physician conflicts of interest, with 81% saying they are worried about gifts and other rewards that drugmakers give to doctors who prescribe their drugs. Nearly three-quarters of respondents didn't like that some doctors serve as paid spokespersons for certain drugs. More than half of consumers polled said they don't think doctors consider a patient's ability to pay when prescribing a drug, and 41% said they think doctors prescribe newer, more expensive drugs over less expensive options.

The Consumer Reports prescription drug survey was conducted in May by telephone. Pollsters interviewed 1,154 adults 18 and over who are taking prescription drugs.

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