Doctors’ preference for branded version of cholesterol drug costs US healthcare system $700m a year, study shows

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 16 April 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2736
  1. Michael Day
  1. 1Milan

Doctors are too easily persuaded to continue prescribing branded drugs by marketing strategies designed to ensure that they do not switch to cheaper generic versions, a new study says.

Yale University researchers cite Abbott’s marketing of its blockbuster cholesterol lowering drug fenofibrate as a key example of a company’s techniques to extend a drug patent. The first formulation of the drug, which is marketed in the United States as TriCor, came off patent in 2002, but the introduction of new formulations allowed a version of it to remain on patent until 2011.

“This continued use of branded formulations, which cost twice as much as generic versions of fenofibrate, imposes an annual cost of …

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