Generic cholesterol pills are probably better for most patients than brand-name medications because the lower cost of generics increases the chance the patients will take the pills every day.
Yet some physicians primarily prescribe expensive brand-name drugs like Lipitor and Crestor. According to a recent study of physicians in Massachusetts, about a quarter of cholesterol prescriptions are for brand name drugs.
Why are physicians so enthusiastic about prescription drugs? For starters, some patients may have taken generic drugs already without achieving adequate cholesterol reduction or, perhaps, with side effects. In addition, some patients may prefer brand names over generics and request them from their physicians. Some physicians, too, might prefer brand-name drugs, perhaps because of advertising.
Or is it because they have gotten financially entangled with the pharmaceutical industry in ways that cloud their clinical judgment? That’s a possibility posed by a research team out of Harvard. The team evaluated the percentage of brand-name cholesterol pills physicians prescribed, as a function of how much money the physicians made through interactions with the pharmaceutical industry.
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