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Concept: IMS Health


BACKGROUND:: Academic medical institutions have instituted conflict of interest (COI) policies in response to concerns about pharmaceutical industry influence. OBJECTIVE:: To determine whether exposure to COI policies during psychiatry residency training affects psychiatrists' antidepressant prescribing patterns after graduation. RESEARCH DESIGN:: We used 2009 physician-level national administrative prescribing data from IMS Health for 1652 psychiatrists from 162 residency programs. We used difference-in-differences estimation to compare antidepressant prescribing based on graduation before (2001) or after (2008) COI policy adoption across residency program groups with maximally, moderately, and minimally restrictive COI policies. The primary outcomes were shares of psychiatrists' prescribing of heavily promoted, brand reformulated, and brand antidepressants. RESULTS:: Rates of prescribing heavily promoted, brand reformulated, and brand antidepressants in 2009 were lower among post-COI graduates than pre-COI graduates at all levels of COI restrictiveness. However, differences between pre-COI and post-COI graduates' prescribing of heavily promoted medications were larger for maximally restrictive programs than both minimally restrictive programs [-4.3 percentage points; 95% confidence interval (CI), -7.0, -1.6] and moderately restrictive programs (-3.6 percentage points; 95% CI, -6.2, -1.1). The difference in prescribing reformulations was larger for maximally restrictive programs than minimally restrictive programs (-3.0 percentage points; 95% CI, -5.3, -0.7). Results were consistent for prescribing of brand drugs. CONCLUSIONS:: This study provides the first empirical evidence of the effects of COI policies. Our results suggest that COI policies can help inoculate physicians against persuasive aspects of pharmaceutical promotion. Further research should assess whether these policies affect other drug classes and physician specialties similarly.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Physician, Pharmaceutical industry, Medical school, Psychiatric medication, Internal medicine, IMS Health


PurposeRanibizumab, an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor, and dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, have been shown to be effective in treating macular oedema secondary to retinal vein occlusion (RVO) (central RVO (CRVO) and branch RVO (BRVO)). Their real-world usage, however, has yet to be compared. We therefore evaluated ophthalmology visits for both drugs using US patient-level data.MethodsThe IMS Health Real-World Data Medical Claims database was used to identify treatment-naive patients receiving ranibizumab intravitreal injections or dexamethasone intravitreal implants between June 2010 and February 2014 who had 12 months of follow-up data. The primary outcome measure was the mean number of all ophthalmology visits for the two drugs in patients with CRVO and BRVO. Secondary outcome measures included a comparison of treatment visits, non-treatment visits, and time intervals between visits.ResultsOverall, 2822 patients received ranibizumab injections (CRVO, 1178; BRVO, 1644) and 365 received dexamethasone implants (CRVO, 191; BRVO, 174). The mean number (SD) of all ophthalmology visits was higher for patients receiving ranibizumab injections than for those receiving dexamethasone implants (CRVO: 7.2 (3.6) vs 6.2 (3.1), P<0.001; BRVO: 7.1 (3.4) vs 6.3 (3.1), P=0.016).ConclusionsPatients with RVO receiving ranibizumab injections had a mean of approximately one more visit to their ophthalmologist in the first 12 months of treatment than those treated with dexamethasone implants. The visit burden is therefore not substantially different and physicians should focus on the clinical benefits of these drugs when evaluating treatment options for RVO.Eye advance online publication, 2 December 2016; doi:10.1038/eye.2016.269.

Concepts: Statistics, Arithmetic mean, Ophthalmology, Mean, Probability theory, IMS Health, Cataract surgery, 2016


MALDI IMS is principally used for cancer diagnostics. In our own experience with publishing IMS data, we have been requested to modify our protocols with respect to the areas of the tissue that are imaged in order to comply with the wider literature. In light of this, we have determined that current methodologies lack effective controls and can potentially introduce bias by only imaging specific areas of the targeted tissue EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: A previously imaged sample was selected and then cropped in different ways to show the potential effect of only imaging targeted areas.

Concepts: Statistics, Mass spectrometry, Energy, Effectiveness, Standardization, Potential, MALDI imaging, IMS Health


Abstract Objectives: To evaluate changes in the dispensing patterns of long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA) in pediatric and adolescent asthma patients in relation to multiple FDA regulatory activities from 2003-2011. Methods: We estimated LABA dispensing to pediatric asthma patients across three periods: 2003-2004 (after the 1(st) labeling change), 2005-2009 (after regulatory activities in 2005 and before 2010 LABA labeling change), and 2010-2011 (after 2010 LABA labeling change), using the IMS Health Plan Claims database. We estimated dispensing patterns over time for single-ingredient (SI) LABA and fixed-dose combination (FDC) of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) and LABA (FDC-ICS/LABA). We also evaluated prior use of non-LABA asthma control medication (ACM) before LABA initiation. Results: Of the 147,862 pediatric and adolescent asthma patients who initiated a LABA during the entire study period, the majority (96%) were FDC-ICS/LABA initiators. The proportion of SI-LABA among any LABA initiators was small and declined (9%, 4%, and 2%, trend test p <.001) for the three periods. Among the patients who initiated, the proportions with prior use of an ACM (1-90 days prior) were 35%, 36%, and 39% for the three periods. Conclusions: The significant decline in the proportion of SI-LABA initiation over these years is consistent with FDA's recommendations. However, the favorable trend cannot be solely attributed to FDA activities as changes to clinical practice guidelines and media publicity may have a played a role. Investigating the reasons for the low ACM use before LABA initiation may inform approaches to further improve appropriate use of LABA in young asthma patients.

Concepts: Asthma, Corticosteroid, Glucocorticoid, Pharmaceutical drug, Initiation, Change, Decline, IMS Health


The aim of the study was to examine the temporal readmission pattern, proportion of readmissions attributed to cardiovascular (CV) causes, and the duration and costs associated with readmission in hospitalized patients with atrial fibrillation/flutter (AF/AFL). This retrospective cohort study used medical claims data from the PharMetrics Patient-Centric database (IMS Health, Watertown, MA) between January 2007 and March 2008. The patients hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of AF/AFL and with ≥12 months' continuous medical and prescription coverage before and after the initial AF/AFL hospitalization were identified from this database. The main outcome measures were rehospitalization patterns [all-cause, all CV-related (including AF/AFL), and AF/AFL-related only], which were assessed over the 12-month post-index period, and costs of initial and subsequent AF/AFL-related hospitalizations that were compared. The study included 8035 patients with AF/AFL (mean age 66.1 years; 57.6% males). Rehospitalization was common (37.9% of patients), with the most frequent causes being CV (34.1%) and, specifically, AF/AFL-related (26.8%). The highest proportion of rehospitalizations occurred within 30 days of the initial hospitalization (25%). Readmissions with a primary diagnosis of AF/AFL (n = 1238) were significantly longer (4.0 vs. 3.6 days; P = 0.0229) and more costly (US$8966 vs. US$7080; P < 0.0001) than the index hospitalization. Hospitalized AF/AFL patients experience high rates of CV- and AF/AFL-related readmissions, particularly within the first 30 days. Subsequent AF/AFL-related readmissions incur higher costs than the initial AF/AFL hospitalization. Treatments resulting in reduced readmissions would improve patient outcomes, quality of life and the cost burden associated with AF/AFL.

Concepts: Cohort study, Patient, Hospital, Heart, Atrial fibrillation, Physician, Outcome, IMS Health