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New Study Shows Physicians Use Numerous Sources to Inform Prescribing Decisions for Patients

WASHINGTON, July 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over 90 percent of physicians rely on multiple sources of information when making prescribing decisions for their patients, according to a new survey released today by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

The survey of 501 office- and hospital-based physicians, conducted by KRC Research, finds that the vast majority of doctors place the greatest emphasis on their own clinical knowledge and experience, and the unique circumstances of each individual patient, when deciding what medicines to prescribe. Physicians also identify peer-reviewed journals, clinical practice guidelines and discussions with colleagues and peers as greatly influencing their decisions.

The vast majority of physicians report that they appreciate information from pharmaceutical company representatives on drug interactions, the latest drugs and treatments, and patient assistance programs, but only 11 percent say this information greatly impacts their final prescribing decision, according to the survey. In fact, echoing the findings of earlier research from multiple studies, physicians cite patients' coverage options and drug formularies as having more of an impact on such decisions.

"America's doctors rightfully use a variety of sources to make appropriate prescribing decisions for their patients," said PhRMA President and CEO Billy Tauzin. "While physicians certainly value the information provided by America's pharmaceutical research companies in their decision-making process, it is by no means the number one factor. Rather, a physician's own clinical knowledge and their patient's distinctive situation play an appropriately greater role."

Reflecting the various factors that affect doctors' decisions, 43 percent of physicians report they prescribe about equally between brand medicines and generics, 41 percent "usually prescribe generics," and 8 percent usually prescribe a brand. Similarly, claims data from IMS Health has shown that 67 percent of all prescriptions filled in 2007 were for generic drugs.

In addition to valuing visits from company representatives and the information they provide, physicians also find drug samples highly useful: over 90 percent agree that samples allow patients to start immediate treatment and try a medicine before filling a full prescription.

"This survey shows that doctors rely on a wide variety of information to make important prescribing decisions, with the information provided by pharmaceutical research companies valued and an important resource for doctors throughout the country who share the common goal of ensuring their patients receive the best possible care," said Tauzin.

Go to to view a summary of the survey findings and a related slide deck. Full survey questions and results are available upon request.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $44.5 billion in 2007 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $58.8 billion in 2007.

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SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
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