Top 20 medical specialties with highest propensity to prescribe branded drugs


Physicians and healthcare providers have ever-increasing options for medications to recommend to their patients.

For biopharma companies looking to maximize the potential return on investment for a new drug, insight into provider prescription activity is key. With this intelligence, a biopharma company can identify and engage with the physicians most likely to prescribe their medication to patients.

How can provider prescribing activity be measured and tracked?

To help understand a provider’s prescribing behavior, Definitive Healthcare developed a “Propensity to Prescribe Brand Name Drugs” dashboard.

For each physician, the percent of historical prescriptions written for brand name drugs is calculated and compared to all other physicians in their specialty. Higher scores reflect a provider’s tendency to prescribe brand name drugs for their patients instead of generics in comparison to their peers.

Using PhysicianView, we analyzed over 295,000 healthcare providers that had either a “high” or “very high” propensity to prescribe brand name drugs.

The following are the top primary specialties of providers with the highest likelihood to select a branded versus generic medication.

Number of physician specialists by highest propensity to prescribe branded drugs

Rank Primary Specialty Number of Providers
1 Family Practice 46,134
2 Internal Medicine 42,103
3 Pediatric Medicine 20,065
4 Emergency Medicine 18,276
5 Obstetrics & Gynecology 16,678
6 Psychiatry 16,481
7 Cardiology - Cardiologist 9,882
8 Surgery - Orthopedic Surgery 9,956
9 Hospitalist 8,873
10 Ophthalmology 8,421
11 Neurology 7,375
12 Gastroenterology 7,213
13 Surgery - General Surgery 7,201
14 Dermatology 6,095
15 Pulmonary Disease 4,820
16 Urology 4,691
17 Nephrology 4,424
18 Otolaryngology 4,403
19 Oncology - Hematology/Oncology 4,294
20 General Practice 4,750

Fig. 1 Data is from the Definitive Healthcare PhysicianView product. Physician Dashboard data is proprietary and aggregated from commercial claims data sourced from multiple medical claims clearinghouses in the United States. Data accurate as of September 2021.


Which provider specialties have the highest likelihood to prescribe branded medications?

Family medicine and internal medicine top the list with over 88,000 of these physicians having the highest propensity to prescribe branded drugs. Pediatric medicine, emergency medicine and obstetrics and gynecology round out the top five primary specialties on the list.

Healthcare Insights are developed with data from the Definitive Healthcare platform. Want even more insights? Start a free trial now and get access to the highest quality healthcare commercial intelligence on hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers.

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