A new research from Michigan State University finds that doctors are more likely to prescribe growth hormones for children who do not meet the federal guidelines for therapy. They are prescribed incase of either a request from the child's family or if the doctor feels it to be beneficial for the patient's wellbeing.
Irina Kozlenkova of Michigan State University and Detelina Marinova of the University of Missouri, raised significant issues about life-enhancing products, which may cover access, overuse and cost.
The study findings are published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
"On the other hand, the effect of doctors approving consumer requests for prescriptions could also lead to overuse."
Life enhancing products are also found to be expensive which may create financial burdens on patients , insurance companies and tax payers.
The study investigated the medical and non-medical factors which trade offs doctors make regarding life-enhancing drugs and treatment was funded by the National Institute of Health. These products have a high value in the market and may include growth hormones, implants and stimulants.
Growth Hormone is the first biotechnological product which is been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for life enhancing purpose. This drug is usually prescribed based on the age as the medical factor for deciding growth.
About 656 pediatric endocrinologists were surveryed in the United States and doctors were asked to evaluate two groups. One group with slow growth and another group which was a bit faster.
Kozlenkova said,"If looking strictly at the FDA guidelines, only the very slow growing children in our study would get a prescription for growth hormones."
"However, legally and practically, doctors have a lot of flexibility and discretion in their decisions." she said.
- The study found that faster-growing children are also prescribed with drugs by doctors if their family requested.
- Untrained physicians tend to prescribe life enhancing drugs on request from child's family
- Expensive drugs are less likely prescribed by the doctors.
The study concludes "Still, recognition of an inherent desire to do more -- especially for children -- is the first step toward any rational policy response"