Clinicians who receive opioid-related payments prescribe more and more expensive opioids

  • Zezza MA & al.
  • PLoS One
  • 1 Jan 2018

  • curated by Kelli Whitlock Burton
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Receiving opioid-related payments from drug manufacturers was significantly associated with an increase in prescribed opioids and prescriptions for more expensive opioids, according to an analysis of a national cohort of clinicians.
  • The higher the payment a clinician received, the higher that clinicians' opioid expenditures, daily doses dispensed, and expenditures per daily dose.

Why this matters

  • This is the first study to examine the association between opioid-related payments and opioid prescribing practices.

Study design

  • Study identified 2 physician cohorts who received opioid-related payments in 2014 and 2015 but not in 2013 (n=6322), and in 2015 but not in 2013/2014 (n=8669).
  • Each cohort was compared with a comparator group that did not receive an opioid-related payment in any year.
  • Funding: NIH.

Key results

  • Relative to the comparator group, physicians receiving an opioid-related payment in 2014 and 2015 had significantly higher:
    • mean opioid expenditures ($6171; 95% CI, 4997-7346),
    • daily doses dispensed (1574; 95% CI, 1330-1818), and
    • mean expenditures/daily dose ($0.38; 95% CI, 0.29-0.47).
  • Cohort of physicians who received an opioid-related payment in 2015 also had a significant increase in:
    • opioid expenditures ($1031; 95% CI, 603-1460),
    • daily doses dispensed (557; 95% CI, 417-697), and
    • mean expenditures/daily dose ($0.06; 95% CI, 0.002-0.13).

Limitations

  • Findings may not be generalizable.

Coauthored with Antara Ghosh, PhD

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