Study: New York physicians received $3.5M from opioid makers between 2013-15

New York physicians prescribed more opioids to Medicare patients after receiving payments from opioid manufacturers, compared to those who did not receive money from a drugmaker, according to a study from the New York State Health Foundation.

Three things you need to know:

1. Between August 2013 and December 2015, an estimated 3,400 physicians received $3.5 million from drug manufacturers. For every dollar the New York physicians received, they prescribed $10 worth of opioids back to their patients, according to the report.

"It's a systemic issue that is troubling and needs to be addressed," said David Sandman, chief executive of the NYS Health Foundation, told CNN. "It's financial relationships that really raise eyebrows."

2. About 90 percent of physicians in New York did not receive opioid-related payments from drug companies, but those who did had a history of high opioid prescribing.

The study found 33 physicians earned more than $10,000 through opioid-related payments between 2013-15 and, on average,  prescribed more than $1.2 million worth of opioids.

3. Thomas Madejski, PhD, president of the Medical Society of the State of New York, questioned the study's validity.  

"To make an assertion that New York physicians are prescribing opioids because of payments from drug companies is completely at odds with recent statistics showing a significant decrease in opioid prescribing in New York," Madejski told CNN. However, he did agree, "Doctors who put profit over patients should be punished."

More articles on opioids: 

Viewpoint: The one step Trump should take to ease the opioid epidemic
New Jersey Hospital Association invests $1.5M in opioid monitoring 
How NIH plans to use $500M to fight opioid abuse

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