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Comment & Response
October 2016

Payments to Physicians, Prescribing Rates, and More Appropriate Conclusions

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(10):1576. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.5796

To the Editor In a study in a recent issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Yeh et al1 draw a broad conclusion that there is a positive linear relationship between pharmaceutical industry payments to physicians and higher rates of prescribing brand name statins. The authors, however, acknowledge that there is no such relationship over the range of $0 to $2000 per physician during the study period. The article does not include the number of physicians in this group, but because the median payment for the entire sample of physicians was $268, this range clearly represents the vast majority of the 899 physicians. Thus, the conclusion by Yeh et al only applies to a small minority of the physicians in the study and is incorrect for the majority of the physicians.

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