(HealthDay) – Industry payments are linked to doctor prescribing patterns, according to a systematic review published online Nov. 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Aaron P. Mitchell, MD, MPH of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and colleagues looked at 36 studies, including 101 analyzes, of whether receiving drug industry payments was linked to physician prescribing practices. The primary analysis or analyzes from each study were extracted by two referees.

The researchers found that 30 of the studies identified a positive association between payments and prescriptions across all analyzes, while six studies had a mix of positive and zero results. None of the studies reported only zero results. A positive association was found in 89 of the 101 individual analyzes. There were correlations for payments with an increased prescription of the drug from the paying company, increased prescription costs, and an increased prescription of branded drugs. Nine and 25 of the studies assessed and identified indications of a temporal association or indications of a dose-effect association.

“Our results support the conclusion that personal industry payments impair the ability of physicians to make independent therapeutic decisions and that they can be harmful to patients,” the authors write. “The medical community must change its historical opposition to reform and demand an end to these payments.”

One author announced financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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