More Opioids Prescribed By Doctors Who Received Free Pharmaceutical Lunches

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Big Lunch Extras Reading” by Big Lunch Extras is licensed under CC BY 2.0Scott E. Hadland, MD, MPH, MS
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics | Boston University School of Medicine
Boston Medical Center
Director of Urban Health & Advocacy Track | Boston Combined Residency Program
Boston, MA 02118

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Numerous pharmaceutical companies have received media attention for their role in promoting opioid prescribing through speaker programs and other marketing plans in which large-value payments are given to a small number of doctors to promote opioids.

In our study, we sought to tell the other side of the story. We wanted to identify whether low-value marketing, including industry-sponsored meals, which are commonplace in the US, were associated with increased opioid prescribing.

We found that 1 in 14 doctors received opioid marketing from pharmaceutical companies in 2014, and those that received marketing prescribed 9% more opioids the following year. With each additional meal a doctor received, he or she prescribed more and more opioids the following year. Our sample included 43% of the active physician workforce in the US, suggesting how widespread and far-reaching this effect might be.

Continue reading

LUCEMYRA, First Drug for Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms, Receives FDA Recommendation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
http://usworldmeds.com/
Mark Pirner, MD, PhD
Senior Medical Director
US WorldMeds  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain how lofexidine works?

Response: LUCEMYRA (lofexidine) was studied in two phase 3 pivotal randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies, and a phase 3 open-label study. Clinical pharmacology studies included evaluation of drug-drug interaction studies that demonstrated lofexidine can be safely administered concomitantly with methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone.

LUCEMYRA is an alpha 2 adrenergic receptor agonist that reduces the surge of norepinephrine signaling in the brain which results from abrupt opioid withdrawal, and thereby reduces the severity of opioid withdrawal symptoms.  Continue reading

Physicians Who Receive Pharmaceutical Company Payments More Likely To Prescribe Opioids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Vishal Bala Senior Quantitative Data Analyst CareDash

Vishal Bala

Vishal Bala
Senior Quantitative Data Analyst
CareDash

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prior research into physicians and their relationships with the pharmaceutical industry has typically retained a narrow scope, focusing on how payments may be associated with prescription habits (sometimes limited to specific regions) for specific categories of drugs. For example, Modi et al. 2017 and Bandari et al. 2017 explored these connections in the context of some urologic drugs specifically.

Research conducted by ProPublica in 2016 studied the connection between industry payments and physician prescriptions across some of the largest medical specialties, but was only able to look at “brand-name” vs. “generic” categories and were limited by overlapping timeframes for payments and prescriptions.

CareDash took this analysis further by using Open Payments and Medicare Part D data to investigate the relationship between payments made by individual companies for specific drugs and the prescribing habits of the recipient physicians for those drugs.

CareDash’s main findings are that healthcare providers who received payments for a drug from a pharmaceutical company are 5 times more likely to be high prescribers for that drug than those physicians who did not receive a payment. Physicians are 5.3 times more likely to prescribe a drug than their peers after they have received a payment for that drug from the manufacturer. When physicians already prescribe a drug significantly more often than their peers, they are 5.6 times more likely to later receive payment for that drug from the drug’s manufacturer. Looking at the opioid drug class specifically, CareDash found that physicians receiving payment on behalf of an opioid were 14.5 times more likely to prescribe that opioid over alternatives.

Continue reading

Illicit Marketing Practices of UK, Swedish Pharmaceutical Companies Outlined

Shai Mulinari  Researcher, PhD Sociology, Lund University MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Shai Mulinari  Researcher, PhD

Sociology, Lund University

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Mulinari : Over the past decade, several so-called whistleblower cases have spotlighted the illicit marketing practices of pharmaceutical companies in the US but relatively few similar cases have been brought in Europe. The reason for this discrepancy is unclear but one possibility is that the wider use of self-regulation in Europe encourages companies to comply with drug promotion rules and deters illicit conduct. But to date self-regulation of medicines promotion has been poorly studied.

We therefore investigated pharmaceutical industry self-regulation in the UK and Sweden. These are two countries often cited as places where self-regulation is effective. One of things that we found was that between 2004 and 2012 the Swedish and UK self-regulatory bodies ruled that 536 and 597 cases, respectively, were in breach of the country’s rules on medicines promotion; many of the violations in both countries concerned misleading claims about a drug’s effects. This equates to an average of more than one case per week in each country.

Charges incurred by companies because of these violations were equivalent to about 0.014% and 0.0051% of annual sales revenue in Sweden and the UK, respectively. Notably, nearly 20% of the cases in breach of the code of conduct in both countries were serious breaches.

Continue reading