One in 12 physicians — and nearly one in five family medicine doctors — have accepted payments from drug makers that sell prescription opioid painkillers, according to a review of federal records. Although the analysis did not examine the extent to which payments may have influenced prescribing, the findings are certain to raise questions about the sway the companies may have over medical practice.
Overall, the average payment was small — just $15 — and most doctors received only one payment a year for such things as speaking, meals, consulting, or travel. But of more than 375,000 payments, the top 1 percent of 68,000 physicians collectively received $38 million, which represented 82 percent of all payments. On average, the top prescribers received $2,600 per year.