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Approximately 1 in 12 U.S. physicians received a payment involving an opioid during a 29-month study of pharmaceutical industry influences on opioid prescribing, according to researchers who will publish their findings in September’s American Journal of Public Health.
Researchers with the Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine in Boston and Brown University’s School of Public Health in Providence, Rhode Island, used the Open Payments program database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to identify payments involving an opioid to physicians between August 2013 and December 2015, according to an abstract published online on Aug. 8.
During the study, 375,266 non-research opioid-related payments were made to 68,177 physicians, totaling $46,158,388, according to researchers. The top 1% of physicians received 82.5% of total payments in dollars. Most payments were for speaking fees or honoraria — 63.2% of all dollars — and food and beverage payments were the most frequent at 93.9% of all payments, the study will show.
The steady march away from opioid prescribing in workers compensation will continue into 2017, according to industry experts who call this ongoing shift in treating pain for injured workers a necessary, but complicated journey for all parties involved.