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Have You Ever Tried to Sell a New Drug? - Charles Ornstein, Tracy Weber & Jennifer LaFleur - The Atlantic

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"Until now, doctors' prescribing habits have been secret from all but pharmaceutical companies, which pay millions of dollars for such information from other firms that collect it.

ProPublica's analysis marks the first time anyone has matched payment data made public by drug companies with physician prescribing records from the Medicare drug program, which covers about 1 out of every 4 prescriptions in the U.S.

(Readers can search for Medicare prescribers in ProPublica's Prescriber Checkup news app and for drug company payments to doctors and other health professionals in Dollars for Docs.)

Reporters identified the drugs that were most actively promoted to doctors in 2010 and 2011 using rankings from Cegedim Strategic Data, a company that tracks marketing expenses.

The top prescribers of some of these drugs, in addition to Bystolic, also received speaking payments from the companies that made them. As a group, these heavily marketed drugs were new or had new uses, were expensive, and often showed little benefit over existing medications or generics."

It's hard to reconcile the fact that doctors are supposed to have their patients' best interests in mind, with the fact that marketing can undermine that by influencing recommendation decisions.

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