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Doctors prescribe more brand drugs for free meals from pharma industry – Study

Doctors who received free meals from the pharmaceutical representatives were more likely to prescribe the brand-name medication that was being promoted, instead of lower-cost generics, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Industry payments to physicians are associated with higher rates of prescribing brand-name statins, the report said.

Clinical trials increasingly funded by pharma industry

National Institutes of Health building
The number of studies funded by the National Institute of Health has fallen while pharma-sponsored studies have risen

The number of clinical trials funded by pharma has risen significantly since 2006, while the number funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has fallen each year since, research shows.

Research from Johns Hopkins University, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that NIH-funded trials have fallen from 1,376 in 2006 to 1,048 in 2014 – a 24% decline. Over the same period, those sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry rose substantially, from 4,585 to 6,550- representing a 43% increase.

Sovaldi scores in HIV patients

Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) image

Patients with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) have responded well to a combination of Gilead Sciences’ Sovaldi and ribavirin in a new study of 223 people.

The trial, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that there was a 76% sustained viral response (SVR) in patients co-infected with HCV genotype 1 and HIV after 24 weeks of treatment.

This sort of impressive response is a major factor in why Sovaldi is expected to reach around $10 billion in sales by next year, and is on course to become the biggest selling medicine in the world.

FDA ‘not trusted’ by Americans

FDA image

More than one-third of Americans in a new survey think the Food and Drug Administration is holding back new cures for cancer because pharma does not want the regulator to allow them to market.

According to the online poll by YouGov, 37% of respondents believe that the FDA “is deliberately preventing the public from getting natural cures for cancer and other diseases because of pressure from drug companies”.

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