PharmedOut wrapped up our "What Are Your Top 20 Drugs?" survey this month with over 500 responses, and we have begun analyzing the results. A story on the concept was written up by Kate Aubusson for Australian Doctor.
Because the survey was such a success, we are doing a version of it with second and fourth-year Georgetown medical students this spring. We are interested in comparing the drug choices of students after they have taken a comprehensive pharmacology curriculum during second year, with the choices of fourth-year students who have spent two years doing clinical work.
We contributed to a report led by Dr. Susan Wood at the George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health, analyzing the most recent D.C. pharmaceutical marketing data. The report is now available on the D.C. Department of Health website, and a summary of our findings can be found in this press release and in Washington Business Journal.
PharmedOut is thrilled to have added a new volunteer staffperson to our team. Sherie Newcomb, a graduate of Tennessee State University and former Health Equity Chair of the American Medical Student Association's Reach Committee, has been immersed in the Top 20 Drugs survey data, and will be working with us on various PharmedOut projects over the coming months.
On March 12, Express Scripts released a report entitled "Turning Attention to ADHD: U.S. Medication Trends for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder". Their pharmacy claims data showed a 36% increase in Americans taking ADHD medication in just the past five years. Adult use is much more prevalent than in previous years, increasing 53% versus a 19% increase in child use. Additionally, use in women ages 26-34 has risen a substantial 85%, while young girls are still only prescribed the drugs half as often as boys.
Why the drive in ADHD diagnoses and drug prescriptions, besides a sudden epidemic? Explanatory theories abounded this month, such as NBC News' article "Could School Testing Be Driving ADHD?". An interdisciplinary approach may be required to identify and combat overuse of these medications.
For a great background on expanded marketing efforts by ADD/ADHD drug manufacturers, check out Alan Schwarz's December 2013 article "The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder" and check back in with him for more ADD news.
*** News Round-Up (for more, please follow @pharmed_out on Twitter!)
This month, ProPublica updated their wildly useful Dollars for Docs database with new 2013 data. Find industry payments to physician and other information by state, drug, company and more: http://projects.propublica.org//docdollars/