US electronic records company fined $145 million for pushing doctors to prescribe opioidsBMJ 2020; 368 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m409 (Published 31 January 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m409
- Janice Hopkins Tanne
- New York, USA
Practice Fusion, an electronic health records company, agreed to pay $145m (£110.7m; €131.5m) to settle civil and criminal charges with the US Department of Justice for encouraging doctors to prescribe opioids. The company got a $1m kickback from pharmaceutical company “Pharma X” to promote opioid prescribing through its programmes for doctors.1
Most of the fine will go to the federal government and other payments will go to individual states. Pharma X, a major opioid company, was not identified in the settlement.
From 1999 to 2017 the US opioid epidemic has killed more than 700 000 Americans.2
Practice Fusion offered free electronic health records software and sometimes computers to small and single doctor practices. Its electronic health records received certifications from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and were highly rated by users.3 Electronic health records could …