To better understand real-world prescribing behavior, the researchers analyzed responses to a 2009 survey completed by about 1,900 physicians representing a variety of specialties.
On a positive note, the authors found that 63 percent of the doctors polled said they never or rarely prescribe a brand-name drug rather than a generic one solely on the basis of patient request.
However, nearly four in 10 doctors (37 percent) said that they occasionally do prescribe a brand-name drug over its generic counterpart, a statistic that represents roughly 286,000 physicians across the United States.
The poll also revealed that when it comes to issuing brand-name scripts, not all doctors are created equal. Certain specialties are more prone to the practice than others, with prescription-heavy internal medicine physicians being much more likely to acquiesce to a patient's brand-name request than pediatricians, cardiologists, general surgeons and/or anesthesiologists.
Physician age was a factor as well, with poll responses indicating that among doctors in practice for three decades or more, roughly four out of every ten (43 percent) gave in to brand-name drug requests. This compared with just three in every ten (31 percent) doctors with a decade or less of work experience.
"Perhaps it's the case that older doctors were trained at a time when the cost of health care was not as salient an issue as it is today," Campbell added. "Or they may not see it as their personal responsibility, and want to give patients they have a long relationship with what they want. It all makes for a very big problem."
In addition, the survey also suggested that direct marketing, from pharmaceutical companies to physicians, further tips the scales in favor of brand-name scripts.
For example, nearly four in every ten physicians who were given free food/drink
All rights reserved