PhRMA survey offers insights on doctors’ prescription-drug decision-making process

August 5, 2008

Washington - More than 90 percent of physicians base their drug-prescribing decisions on multiple sources of information, according to a new survey conducted by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), PRNewswire reports.

Washington - More than 90 percent of physicians base their drug-prescribing decisions on multiple sources of information, according to a new survey conducted by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), PRNewswire reports.

In a survey of 501 office- and hospital-based physicians, PhRMA found that the vast majority of doctors depend on their own clinical knowledge and experience, as well as the unique circumstances of each patient, when deciding what medicines to prescribe. Respondents said peer-reviewed journals, clinical practice guidelines and input from colleagues also are critical in the decision-making process.

The surveyed physicians reported that they also value information from pharma-company representatives on drug interactions, new drugs and treatments, and patient-assistance programs - yet only 11 percent said this information is a significant factor in deciding what medicines to prescribe. In fact, respondents said patients’ coverage options and drug formularies have more impact on the prescription decisions.

Among the survey’s other findings, 43 percent of physicians say they prescribe about equally between brand medicines and generics, 41 percent usually prescribe generics and 8 percent usually prescribe a brand. These findings support claims data from IMS Health showing that 67 percent of all prescriptions filled in 2007 were for generics.

Another significant finding is the extent to which physicians say they find drug samples useful: More than 90 percent said samples allow patients to start immediate treatment and try a medicine before filling a full prescription.