Intended for healthcare professionals


Even a $13 meal paid by pharma increases doctors’ opioid prescribing, study finds

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 22 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2256
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

Even a single modest meal bought for a doctor by an opioid manufacturer’s sales representative—a common practice in the US—is associated with slightly increased opioid prescribing by that physician in the next year, new research shows.

Overall US opioid prescriptions have finally begun to decline after 15 years of rapid growth, but in the subset of doctors who had recently taken money or gifts from the industry prescriptions were still rising, the study found.

“I think if you were to speak to all these doctors, the vast majority would tell you, and sincerely believe, that this meal or speaking engagement they participated …

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