Wednesday, October 23, 2013


The story of McAllen, TX made some splash and now we have more evidence that doctors will recommend that patients get treated by the machines they own without medical justification.
Costly prostate therapy common when docs own the machine

By Gene Emery

NEW YORK | Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:25pm EDT

(Reuters Health) - A new study of an intensive and expensive form of prostate cancer therapy finds that doctors who stand to profit from the treatment are twice as likely to recommend it, even though there is no definitive evidence that it is better.

The treatment, known as intensity-modulated radiation therapy or IMRT, typically costs more than $31,000 while options costing about half that - or less - are available.

Mitchell analyzed records covering 2005 through 2010.

At the beginning of the period, before IMRT treatment accelerated, it was used in 13.1 percent of cases by urology groups that were destined by the end of the study to buy their own machines. Ultimately, those groups were sending 32.3 percent of their patients for IMRT therapy.

In contrast, among doctors who didn't stand to make money from IMRT, the rate of referral barely grew, rising just 1.3 percentage points from 14.3 percent to 15.6 percent.

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