Drug reimbursement and GPs’ prescribing decisions: a randomized case-vignette study about the pharmacotherapy of obesity associated with type 2 diabetes: how GPs react to drug reimbursement

Authors

  • Pierre Verger,

    Corresponding author
    1. INSERM, U912 (SE4S), Marseilles, France
    2. Université Aix Marseille, IRD, UMR-S912, Marseilles, France
    3. ORS PACA, Southeastern Health Regional Observatory, Marseilles, France
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  • Sophie Rolland,

    1. INSERM, U912 (SE4S), Marseilles, France
    2. ORS PACA, Southeastern Health Regional Observatory, Marseilles, France
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  • Alain Paraponaris,

    1. INSERM, U912 (SE4S), Marseilles, France
    2. Université Aix Marseille, IRD, UMR-S912, Marseilles, France
    3. ORS PACA, Southeastern Health Regional Observatory, Marseilles, France
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  • Julien Bouvenot,

    1. Université de la Méditerranée, Laboratoire de santé publique, Marseilles, France
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  • Bruno Ventelou

    1. INSERM, U912 (SE4S), Marseilles, France
    2. Université Aix Marseille, IRD, UMR-S912, Marseilles, France
    3. ORS PACA, Southeastern Health Regional Observatory, Marseilles, France
    4. CNRS, U6579 (greqam), Marseilles, France
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Correspondence and reprints: pierre.verger@inserm.fr

Abstract

This study sought to identify the effect of drug reimbursability – a decision made in France by the National Authority for Health – on physicians’ prescribing practices for a diet drug such as rimonabant, approved for obese or overweight patients with type-2 diabetes. A cross-sectional survey of French general practitioners (GPs) presented a case-vignette about a patient for whom this drug is indicated in two alternative versions, differing only in its reimbursability, to two separate randomized subsamples of GPs in early 2007, before any decision was made about reimbursement. The results indicate that (i) more than 20% of GPs in private practice would be willing to prescribe a non-reimbursed diet drug for patients with obesity complicated by type 2 diabetes; (ii) the number of GPs willing to prescribe it would increase by 47.6% if the drug were reimbursed, and (iii) such a drug would be adopted at a higher rate by GPs who have regular contacts with pharmaceutical sales representatives. In France, unlike most other countries, drug reimbursement status is a signal of quality. However, our results suggest that a significant proportion of GPs would spontaneously adopt anti-obesity drugs even if they were not reimbursed. Decisions about reimbursement of pharmaceutical products should be made taking into account that reimbursement is likely to intensify prescription.

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