Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 187–189 | Cite as

Concentration of Opioid-Related Industry Payments in Opioid Crisis Areas

  • Austin J. LeeEmail author
  • Jathin Bandari
  • Liam C. Macleod
  • Benjamin J. Davies
  • Bruce L. Jacobs
Concise Research Report


The misuse of opioids has led to dramatic increases in opioid-related mortality with opioid-related deaths increasing by 345% from 2001 to 2016 in the USA.1, 2 The marketing of opioids by the pharmaceutical industry to providers is well documented, with 1 in 12 US physicians receiving opioid-related industry payments.3 However, it is unclear how or even if pharmaceutical industry payments are related to opioid-related deaths, or if disparities exist in marketing efforts for at-risk populations. We examined if opioid-related industry payments to healthcare providers were associated with opioid-related deaths by US county in 2016.


We used the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Open Payments General Payment 2016 database to examine industry (non-research, non-ownership related) payments given by county to providers in association with opioid drugs, as listed on the CMS Opioid Drug List.4We obtained opioid-related deaths in 2016 by county from the Centers...


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Rudd RA, et al. Increases in drug and opioid overdose deaths—United States, 2000–2014. Am J Transplant, 2016. 16(4): p. 1323–1327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gomes T, et al. The Burden of Opioid-Related Mortality in the United States. JAMA Network Open, 2018. 1(2): p. e180217-e180217.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hadland SE, Krieger MS, Marshall BD. Industry payments to physicians for opioid products, 2013–2015. Am J Public Health, 2017. 107(9): p. 1493–1495.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Open payments dataset downloads. Available from: Accessed 4 Aug 2018.
  5. 5.
    Hedegaard H, Warner M, Minino AM. Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2016, in NCHS Data Brief, no 294. 2017, National Center for Health Statistics: Hyattsville.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Environmental Systems Research Institute, ArcGIS (2017) Redlands, CA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Austin J. Lee
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jathin Bandari
    • 2
  • Liam C. Macleod
    • 2
  • Benjamin J. Davies
    • 2
  • Bruce L. Jacobs
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of UrologyUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA

Personalised recommendations