Many of you have heard Kolodny or other anti-opioid zealots make comments like "pharma pays doctors to prescribe opioids." So first, let's address that. It is illegal for a pharmaceutical company to pay doctors specifically to prescribe their medication. What they can do, though, is pay them as "consultants" or for "speaking engagements." Do I think it's ethical? Probably not, but that's how it works. Medical device companies do the same thing. Well, actually, they often pay more than pharma, as seen in this article called "Medtechs top pharma in cash to doctors for consulting, travel.." If you ever want to look up a company and see how much they pay doctors, or look up doctors to see how much they've accepted, you can look up these two websites. Open Payments and Dollars For Docs. So, do opioid makers specifically "pay doctors to prescribe"? I would say no more than any other company does. For anyone to specifically state that companies that make opioids pay doctors to prescribe is incredibly misleading. But, that doesn't stop doctors from making that statement or from media repeating it. Why would people want to mislead the general public about opioids? It helps vilify these companies for the litigation narrative we're always talking about. This whole narrative was done in preparation for opioid litigation, which we see taking place across the country now. There are around 3,000 lawsuits that the Attorneys General have brought against pharma, pharmacies, and manufacturers.
What they don't mention is that doctors are now getting paid more money to NOT prescribe opioids? Yes, you read that correctly. BCBS of Michigan actually incentivizes doctors by paying them 35% more money if they don't prescribe opioids after certain procedures. Read all about it in this article called Fewer Opioids, More Pay: New Tack on How Doctors Prescribe Them . So, if you live in Michigan and have BCBS, this might be the reason why your surgeon isn't treating your post-op pain with opioids. I'll include the rest of the article below.
An article in Reason came out yesterday about the ruling for the Defendants (four drug companies-Teva, Johnson & Johnson, AbbVie, and Endo) in opioid litigation. This is huge for our community. The Judge said the Plaintiffs failed to prove the charges of public nuisance and false advertising. Superior Court Judge, Peter J. Wilson wrote a 42 page ruling. This was the first of thousands of cases filed across the country regarding the "opioid crisis," filed in 2014. The Plaintiffs' claims were:
Judge Wilson ruled the Plaintiffs failed to prove any of these claims. Some direct quotes from Judge Wilson's ruling:
"The general public has been brainwashed about the (lack of) safety and efficacy of prescription opioids." ~Claudia Merandi
"When you're talking about these professional anti-opioid crusaders, let's publicly ask and demand that these organizations like PharmedOut, PROP, and people like Andrew Kolodny, Jane Ballantyne, and Anna Lembke disclose all of the money that they've received from anti-opioid lawsuits for the last 20 years." ~Dr. Dan Laird