Opioid Makers Paid Huge Sums to Doctors Who Were 'Frequent Prescribers'

Opioid manufacturers paid large amounts of money to doctors who wrote a lot of opioid prescriptions in 2014 and 2015, according to a study by Harvard researchers. Hundreds of doctors received six-figure payments, and thousands more were paid at least $25,000.  

Most of the payments were categorized as speaking or consulting fees. Doctors who prescribed especially large amounts of the drugs were the most likely to collect. For instance, doctors in the top one percent of opioid prescribers received four times as much money as the typical doctor. Doctors in the top tenth of one percent received nine times as much.

"The correlation … is very powerful," said David Rothman, director of the Center on Medicine as a Profession at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. 

While it’s not clear whether doctors were prescribing opioids to collect fees or whether the drug companies rewarded doctors who were already large prescribers in order to encourage them, “it smells like doctors being bribed to sell narcotics, and that's very disturbing," said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, the executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.

Source: CNN. Click here for more information.