Insurers dictate healthcare treatment

While the payment of doctors to act as spokespeople raises red flags amongst the public, who’s really influencing physician prescribing habits? Is it the pharmaceuticals? Certainly, the money trail laid out by ProPublica (see previous blog) would seem to indicate that.

However, the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development (2008 Outlook report) found that physicians cited as influencing their prescribing habits (very important and somewhat important) — insurers more than 90% of the time and pharmceuticals less than 50%.

What was the biggest factor? According to physicians, CME was the number one factor. And, who funds most CME? Insurers account for more than 60% of CME funding, according to Tufts.

So, insurers are definitely controlling the prescribing show! (which probably also means that pharmaceuticals are spending a lot of money on endorsements, but not getting as good of a return)

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