3. Free lunch and I’m IN…

…declared thousands of doctors everywhere. Apparently that’s all it takes for US physicians to be swayed on some pretty important decisions. Conducted by JAMA, the industry-wide study found that pharma-sponsored meals bought for doctors during a drug promotion (averaging less than $20 a plate) resulted in significant prescription increases for the promoted drugs to Medicare Part D patients. Take Bystolic for instance, a popular betablocker. Compared to un-fed physicians, those who received meals over 4 or more days increased Bystolic prescriptions by almost 14%. And you guessed it—more expensive meals, or more meals generally, means more prescriptions. To give context to these findings, industry-sponsored meals account for about 80% of all dollars in industry payments to physicians. Alternative explanations?

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