Now you know why doctors prescribe costly medicines!

Zee Media Bureau

New York: Do you often think why your physician has prescribed you a costly medicine when there are other cheaper options available?

The answer has a lot to do with his/her training, says a study.

At a time when the Indian government is focussing on making the healthcare more affordable for the masses, the results of the study presents an opportunity to make necessary improvements in the graduate medical education.

The study, published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found that physicians-in-training are twice as likely to order a costly brand-name statin (used to lower blood cholesterol levels) when supervised by senior physicians who prefer those medications in their own practice.

These results document a link between low-value prescribing and graduate medical training, which physicians undergo after completing medical school but before they can practice independently.

The study found that the probability of a resident prescribing a costly brand-name statin increased from 22.6 percent when residents were supervised by attending physicians who mostly prescribed cheaper generic statins, to 41.6 percent when they were supervised by an attending who mostly prescribed expensive brand name statins.

The linkage was strongest for the most junior resident physicians in training.

"These results provide early empirical evidence that low-value practices among physicians are transferred from teachers to trainees, highlighting the importance of re-design of graduate medical education," said Kira Ryskina, a general internal medicine fellow at University of Pennsylvania.

"We observed considerable variation in the prescribing practices of both attending physicians and residents, suggesting room to improve cost-effectiveness," Ryskina said.

(With IANS inputs)