• Anti-VEGF Agents: Industry Payments to Ophthalmologists

    By Lynda Seminara and selected by Richard K. Parrish II, MD

    Journal Highlights

    American Journal of Ophthalmology, January 2017

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    Singh et al.
    reviewed national databases to analyze the characteristics of industry payments made to ophthalmologists related to anti-VEGF drugs and the possible effect on prescribing patterns. They found that providers who received >90% of payments related to ranibizumab or to aflibercept were more likely to use those branded drugs rather than bevacizumab, compared with those who received no payments.

    Recent data (2013-2014) from the Open Payments General Payment dataset and the Provider Utilization and Payments database of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services were examined to determine characteristics of industry payments related to afliber­cept and ranibizumab, including dollar amounts, number and type of pay­ments, and correlations between pay­ments and providers’ use of the medi­cations for their patients. The analysis showed that 3,207 ophthalmologists received a total of 13,449 payments related to ranibizumab and aflibercept, representing a sum of $4,454,325. The distribution was unequal among recipients: 90% of the payments were received by 7% of ophthalmologists (Gini index, 0.92).

    Consulting fees and speaker fees were associated with the highest pay­ment amounts to the fewest providers. For 2,383 providers (74%), >90% of payments were exclusively for either ranibizumab or aflibercept. Com­pared with providers who received no payments for these agents, those who received >90% of payments from ran­ibizumab were more likely to prescribe ranibizumab than bevacizumab, and those who received >90% of payments from aflibercept were more likely to prescribe aflibercept than bevacizumab.

    The authors concluded that, as more longitudinal data become available, greater insight may be gained about the relationship between provider pay­ments and medication, as well as the cost impact of anti-VEGF agents on the health care system.

    The original article can be found here.