Drug Companies Paying Doctors To Prescribe Painkillers Could Be Behind America’s Opioid Crisis, Per New Study

Opioid study finds doctors increase prescription when paid by drug companies.

Free meals, payment of travel expenses, and consultation fees are among several incentives that could be partly fueling the nation’s current opioid crisis. A new study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that doctors tend to prescribe more opioid painkillers after receiving payoffs from pharmaceutical companies.

Federal data examined by Dr. Scott Hadland and a team of researchers from the Grayken Center for Addiction in Boston found “opioid-related payments” from drug companies to 25,767 doctors in 2014. According to the Los Angeles Times, these payments totaled over $ 9 million.

Of the $ 9 million, almost $ 2 million was spent on meals. At a median price of $ 13, the drug companies bought 97,000 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for doctors.

Over 3,100 doctors received speaking fees to the tune of $ 6.2 million. Drug companies also paid $ 730,800 of travel expenses, $ 290,400 for consulting, and $ 79,600 for education to over 5,000 doctors.

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Health | The Inquisitr