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New federal disclosure law may have little impact on drugs prescribed
Date:5/29/2012

a physician's choice of therapy since members of each class of drug are similar and highly substitutable, Pham-Kanter said.

The researchers theorized that if disclosure laws were effective and doctors were deterred from taking payments from pharmaceutical companies, they in turn would be less likely to prescribe branded statins and SSRIs over similar generic drugs.

Using a wide variety of public data, they compared Maine, which enacted a disclosure law in 2004, with New Hampshire and Rhode Island, two demographically similar states without such laws. Then they compared West Virginia, which also passed its disclosure law in 2004, with Kentucky and Delaware which had none.

In Maine, the law was associated with a 0.8 percentage point reduction in the use of branded statins compared to New Hampshire, and a 5.3 percentage point reduction compared to Rhode Island. The researchers found little to no effect in West Virginia.

"Our results show that the disclosure laws in the two states we examined had a negligible to small effect on physicians switching from branded therapies to generics and no effect on reducing prescription costs," said Pham-Kanter.

She noted that despite the laws, accessing information about how much money a physician received from a pharmaceutical company is still difficult and opaque. Much of the information is not on-line yet.

"Transparency is important in its own right, but if deterring unnecessary, costly prescribing is a concern for policymakers, more direct action may be required," Pham-Kanter said.


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Contact: David Kelly
david.kelly@ucdenver.edu
303-315-6374
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

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