Report: Doctors paid by opioid makers more likely to prescribe them
A new report from the New York State Health Foundation found that doctors who take payments from opioid makers are more likely to prescribe addictive pain medication.
The study found that about one in 10 physicians who prescribe opioids in New York have some sort of financial relationship with drug manufacturers.
One of the researchers says the report found that some New York doctors make thousands of dollars in meals, consulting fees and honorariums from pharmaceutical companies.
"The data definitely points to concerns of potential conflicts of interest," says Dr. Mark Zezza.
Phelps Hospital Pain Center director Yili Huang says there are valid explanations for the correlation. He says doctors take payments from drug companies because they want information the manufacturers also provide.
"When it comes to pain management, the average physician until recently got less than six hours of education throughout medical school," Huang says. "Whereas the average veterinarian gets 85 hours."
But he also says that it's important to watch for possible conflicts of interest.
One way to check whether a doctor is taking payments from the pharmaceutical industry is the Dollars for Docs website, which has a database of doctors by state and how much money they may receive.
Experts advise patients to research their own doctors and actively ask questions.