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    Research Letter
    June 2018

    Association of Pharmaceutical Industry Marketing of Opioid Products to Physicians With Subsequent Opioid Prescribing

    Author Affiliations
    • 1Grayken Center for Addiction, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
    • 2Department of Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
    • 3Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
    • 4Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California at Davis, Sacramento, California
    • 5Department of Epidemiology, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island
    JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(6):861-863. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.1999

    Despite the increasing contribution of heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl to opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States, 40% of deaths involve prescription opioids.1 Prescription opioids are commonly the first opioid encountered in a trajectory toward illicit consumption.2 Although opioid prescribing has declined nationally, rates in 2015 were triple those in 1999 and remain elevated in regions of the country with higher numbers of overdoses.3

    Pharmaceutical industry marketing to physicians is widespread, but it is unclear whether marketing of opioids influences prescribing.4 We studied the extent to which pharmaceutical industry marketing of opioid products to physicians during 2014 was associated with opioid prescribing during 2015.