New York doctors wrote more opioid prescriptions after pharma payments

New York doctors who received payments from pharmaceutical companies that make opioids were more likely to prescribe ...

Posted: Jun 14, 2018 4:44 PM
Updated: Jun 14, 2018 4:44 PM

New York doctors who received payments from pharmaceutical companies that make opioids were more likely to prescribe the drugs to their patients, according to a new report from the New York State Health Foundation.

The findings -- similar to the results of a national investigation done by CNN in March -- increase concern that money from pharmaceutical companies influences doctors' prescribing habits.

"It's a systemic issue that is troubling and needs to be addressed," said David Sandman, chief executive of the New York State Health Foundation, which issued the report. "It's financial relationships that really raise eyebrows."

Doctors' groups have denied that payments from pharmaceutical companies -- which are legal -- influence their prescribing habits.

The study -found that-between 2013 and 2015, about 3,400 New York doctors received more than $3.5 million in payments -related to opioids from pharmaceutical companies.

Those payments from pharmaceutical companies to doctors include fees for speaking and consulting, as well as money for travel and meals. Pharmaceutical companies are required to report these payments to the federal government.

About nine out of 10 New York doctors who prescribed opioids received no opioid-related payments from pharmaceutical companies.

The doctors who did get payments were particularly high opioid prescribers.

The study authors-determined-that on average, for-every $1 a New York doctor received in opioid-related payments -from pharmaceutical companies, the doctor prescribed an additional- $10 -or more in opioids-to Medicare patients.

The study found that 33 New York doctors were particularly high earners, receiving more than $10,000 in opioid-related payments from pharmaceutical companies from August of 2013 through December of 2015. Those high earners were also high prescribers: On average, they wrote $1.2 million in opioid prescriptions during that time period.

In contrast, those who didn't make much money from pharmaceutical companies wrote relatively fewer prescriptions. There were 529 doctors who received less than $20 from opioid manufacturers during the time period, and they prescribed on average only about $34,000 worth of the drugs, according to the report.

The CNN investigation in March reported that in 2014 and 2015, more than 200,000 doctors nationwide who wrote opioid prescriptions also received payments from companies making opioids. The opioid manufacturers' payments exceeded six-figure sums for hundreds of doctors, and thousands nationwide received more than $25,000.

CNN's data analysis, done in collaboration with researchers at Harvard University, determined the quantity of opioid prescriptions by doctors and the amount of money they received were closely linked, with the likelihood of getting paid more steadily rising for higher prescribers.

"Our work very much supports and confirms the work that CNN did," the New York State Health Foundation's Sandman said. "We also tried to branch off in some new directions as well in our report."

The New York report looked at the timing of payments and prescribing. -It found that a doctor who received opioid-related payments had larger increases in-his or her opioid prescribing the next year compared to doctors who had not received such payments.

"You start to see a big spike," Sandman said.

He added that-given the severity of the opioid crisis, it's reasonable to consider banning such payments by pharmaceutical companies.

Doctors' groups, however, have pointed out that reports like this one don't find a definite causal relationship between payments and prescriptions.

Dr. Thomas Madejski, president of the Medical Society of the State of New York, said that doctors who put profit above patients should be punished.

"Any physician that chooses to prescribe any medication for reasons other than patient need faces threat of significant sanction ... as well as potentially criminal and civil penalties," Madejski said in a statement to CNN.

He went on to question the validity of the New York State Health Foundation report.

"To make an assertion that New York physicians are prescribing opioids because of payments from drug companies is completely at odds with recent statistics showing a significant decrease in opioid prescribing in New York," Madejski said.

But the authors of the report say Madejski's analysis is wrong.

While opioid prescribing has been decreasing, doctors are still receiving payments from pharmaceutical companies, and when doctors get those payments, their opioid prescribing increases, said Mark Zezza, director of policy and research for the New York State Health Foundation.

West Lafayette
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 54°
Kokomo
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 50°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
50° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 50°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
50° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 50°
Williamsport
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 51°
Crawfordsville
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 50°
Frankfort
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 52°
Delphi
Scattered Clouds
50° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 50°
Monticello
Scattered Clouds
50° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 50°
Logansport
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 46°
Cooler weather is settling in.....
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 117450

Reported Deaths: 3580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21403766
Lake10618323
Elkhart6667111
St. Joseph6576110
Allen6292203
Hamilton4909109
Vanderburgh371931
Hendricks2747123
Monroe262736
Tippecanoe252313
Johnson2338124
Clark223657
Porter217647
Delaware198562
Cass19549
Vigo184327
Madison168975
LaPorte147441
Floyd138963
Warrick134440
Howard131863
Kosciusko124817
Bartholomew117957
Marshall101224
Dubois99119
Boone98646
Grant93334
Hancock93243
Noble92532
Henry80926
Jackson7689
Wayne76814
Morgan72938
Daviess67728
Shelby67729
Dearborn66528
LaGrange63911
Clinton60914
Harrison58724
Putnam58112
Gibson5305
Knox5259
Lawrence51529
Montgomery51121
DeKalb48711
White48614
Decatur45839
Miami4383
Greene42735
Fayette42313
Jasper3992
Steuben3877
Scott38111
Posey3400
Sullivan33812
Jennings31612
Franklin31125
Ripley3038
Clay3025
Orange28824
Whitley2796
Carroll27713
Adams2743
Wabash2718
Washington2691
Starke2677
Wells2654
Spencer2593
Jefferson2483
Huntington2453
Fulton2412
Tipton22822
Perry22113
Randolph2207
Jay1880
Newton17311
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1621
Rush1574
Vermillion1300
Fountain1282
Blackford1203
Pulaski1131
Crawford1080
Brown1043
Parke1032
Benton870
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren401
Unassigned0226

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events