We explore financial conflicts of interest faced by doctors. Pharmaceutical firms frequently pay physicians in the form of meals, travel, and speaking fees. Over half of the 330,000 physicians in our sample receive payment of some kind. When a doctor is paid, we find he is more likely to prescribe a drug of the paying firm, both relative to close substitutes and even generic versions of the same drug.
This payment-for-prescription effect scales with transfer size, although doctors receiving only small and/or infrequent payments are also affected. Although the pattern holds in nearly every U.S. state, it is strongly and positively related to regional measures of corruption. (Más)
- Male doctors appeared twice as likely as female colleagues to be influenced by drug industry blandishments. "This confirms experimental and field evidence suggesting that women are more honest and less corruptible than me," the researchers write.
- Doctors practicing in states where crimes of corruption are more common, such as Louisiana, were more likely to be influenced by drug company payments than those in states with fewer corruption-related crimes, such as Oregon.