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"Physician-targeted Marketing Is Associated With More Opioid Overdose Deaths"

  • Market Watch
  • New York, NY
  • (January 20, 2019)

Opioid-related overdose deaths are higher in areas of the country where there’s increased marketing of opioid products to physicians, highlighting the role the pharmaceutical industry plays in the opioid epidemic. A recent study found that for every three additional payments made to physicians per 100,000 people in a county, opioid-related overdose deaths were 18 percent higher. “Marketing and advertising works,” said Timothy Brennan, MD, director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai West and Mount Sinai St. Luke’s hospitals. “That doesn’t mean that these physicians are corrupt or egregious prescribers, but pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t be paying for these dinners if they didn’t work,” he added. Deaths from opioid-related overdoses are still rising. Prescription opioids are involved in 40 percent of all opioid overdoses, according to a recent report published by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention.   

— Timothy Brennan, MD, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director, Mount Sinai Addiction Institute

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