Susan Mendez - Factors affecting general practitioners' decision to adopt new prescription drugs

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Jan Kabátek

Melbourne Institute Brown Bag

Title: Factors affecting general practitioners' decision to adopt new prescription drugs (with Yuting Zhang and Anthony Scott)

Abstract: Physicians adoption of new technologies is a key issue for population health, especially where the new technology has been shown to be cost-effective. Understanding individual decisions to adopt can assist with policies to better support diffusion of innovations. In this paper, we investigate what factors affect Australian general practitioners’ decisions to adopt novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs). These are new prescription drugs used for the prevention of stroke or systemic embolism among at-risk patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF). NOACs are considered one of the most innovative drug categories that affect a large share of the population. We use detailed data on physician characteristics from the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) panel survey of Australian physicians. This unique dataset has been linked, with physician’s consent, to actual drug utilization data from the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). We find strong gender differences in the rate of adoption: male doctors are on average 20.5% faster than female doctors. Additional factors associated with earlier adoption of NOACs among general practitioners are working longer hours, having high prescribing volume in this category of drugs, being more likely to take clinical risk, being a principal or partner in the practice instead of an employee, spending less time in a typical consultation, and being closer to cardiologists. Moreover, characteristics such as physician personality, family circumstances, education, and their involvement with public hospitals and teaching activities have no effects on new drug adoption patterns. Our results highlight that even in a country with universal coverage for prescription drugs, access to new drugs is different among patients, partially because who their doctors are and where they practice.

Presenter: Susan Mendez, Melbourne Institute, University of Melbourne

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