Doctors who receive payments or gifts from pharmaceutical companies are more likely to prescribe brand name medications, a new JAMA Internal Medicine study suggests.

The rate at which doctors prescribed brand name drugs increased with the amount of money or gifts (like dinners) they received from drug companies, researchers found.

For the new study, the researchers analyzed 2011 data from Massachusetts payment reports and the prescription drug program of Medicare, the US public health insurance program for the elderly and disabled.

Of the 2,444 Massachusetts doctors in Medicare’s prescribing database, about 37% received payments from the drug industry. About 71% of doctors reported receiving meals paid for by drug companies, about 51% reported receiving grants, about 27% received other services and about 11 percent reported receiving educational training.

Average payments to doctors ranged from $100 to $1,188, the researchers report.