Dr. Scott Hadland of the Boston Medical Center and colleagues reviewed records at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and concluded roughly one out of twelve doctors receive lunch, speaking fees or something else of monetary value from opioid makers. (The 2010 Affordable Care Act requires companies to report any payments or offerings of value made to doctors.)
Some of the study’s findings include:
1. Companies pay far more to market opioids than less addictive painkillers.
2. A total of 375,266 payments worth over $46 million were made to more than 68,000 doctors between 2013 and 2015.
3. 681 doctors (the top 1%) received 82.5% of the total payments which consisted largely of speaking fees.
4. The average “payment” was a lunch worth about $15 and was one per year.
5. Even one moderately priced lunch per year seems to influence the physicians and they become likely to prescribe name-brand drugs.