, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
With 40% of opioid-related deaths still coming from prescription opioids, understanding how marketing influences prescriber habits could lead to the creation of specific policies to lower the number of prescription drugs exchanging hands and save lives.
Dr. Hadland and his colleagues conducted a comparative analysis of opioid prescriptions from 2014 and 2015, retrieved from the Medicare Part D Opioid Prescriber Summary File and cross referenced that information with all recorded transactions from companies to physicians in 2014 from the Open Payments database.
In 2015, a total of 369,139 physicians were recorded prescribing opioids to Medicare patients. About 25,767 (7%) received a combined total of 105,368 “nonresearch opioid-related payments” with a sum total of $9,071,976 in 2014.
While Medicare opioid claims went down in 2015, physicians who received these payments, on average, prescribed 9.3% more opioids than those who did not, according to investigators.