Harvard Study Shows Doctors Paid up To Six Figures For Prescribing Opioids

Opioids are now more addictive than ever, was their formula changed? Reportedly one can get addicted in a week, just by innocently following doctor’s orders after an injury.

Cannabis has none of the horrific side effects, lasts twice as long and is MUCH more effective at relieving pain than opioids.

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“A Harvard/CNN study shows how doctors are essentially bribed to keep prescribing opioids! The local drug dealer on the corner has been replaced by your own doctor.

“Portugal has decriminalized all drugs and their use has dropped dramtically over the past 16 years! HIV infections are also down from over 1,000 new cases per year to under 100. It’s time to try something new.”

Harvard Investigation Shows Doctors Are Paid Huge Sums to Prescribe Addictive Opioids

In 2010, it was found that roughly 100,000 Americans die each year from prescription drugs alone. When it comes to opioids, the number of deaths is in the tens of thousands while a quarter of patients who were given a short-term prescription transitioned to long-term use.

Now, according to a recent Harvard University analysis, doctors who prescribe these pain-killers are being paid huge sums of money from their manufacturers.

The research, which was conducted by Harvard scientists and CNN, discovered that in 2014-2015 thousands of doctors were paid over $25,000 from opioid manufacturers and hundreds more were rewarded with six-figure sums. Also, the more opioids that were prescribed, the larger the reward.

“It smells like doctors are being bribed to sell narcotics, and that’s very disturbing.” – Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing

The Harvard/CNN analysis found that the 5% doctors who prescribed opioids at a volume which was higher than that of the average physician were paid twice as much money from manufacturers. Likewise, doctors in the top 1% were paid four times as much.

For the top 10th of 1 percent, that number increased nine-fold. To put this in perspective, roughly 54% of doctors who wrote prescriptions to Medicare patients, which numbers more than 200,000, received payment from pharma companies which manufacture opioids.

“The correlation you found in very powerful…What’s amazing about the findings is not simply that money counts, but that more money counts even more.” – David Rothman, director of the Center on Medicine as a Profession at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

It is not legal for doctors to prescribe drugs in exchange for compensation from the drug companies, and it is also not provable that most of these doctors were paid in reward for prescribing opioids or if the prescription of opioids attracted the money from pharmaceutical companies.

However, there is nevertheless a clear financial incentive for doctors to continue to prescribe opioids, even when it isn’t in the best interest of the patient.

“It’s not proof positive, but it’s another very significant data point in the growing evidence base that marketing payments from drug companies are not good for medicine and more good for patient care.” – Dr. Daniel Carlat, former director of the Prescription Project at the Pew Charitable Trusts

The effects of opioid addiction can be extremely damaging. One patient who was prescribed a mega powerful opioid (50-100 times more powerful than morphine) known as Subsys claims that the drug placed her in a “zombie-like” state, where she would sometimes wake up on the front lawn or kitchen floor in need of more else she would experience uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea.

When eventually asked to switch medications away from opioids, her doctor became belligerent, she claims.

“He said it was Subsys or nothing…I trusted my doctor as you trust the police officer that’s directing traffic when the light is out.” – Angela Contone

A number of patients have filed lawsuits against their doctors for prescribing opioids for the indented purpose of receiving payments and kickbacks, against the interest of the patient.

Carey Ballou, a patient who was prescribed opioids, recalls her doctor bragging about being flown across the country to lecture other doctors, all paid for by drug companies.

“He said he was going to Miami, and they were going to give him a convertible, and he was going to stay in the best hotel and eat the best Cuban food he’d ever had.” – Carey Ballou

Carey has since filed a lawsuit against Dr. Steven Simon, who was paid over 1 million dollars by opioid companies according to the federal Open Payments database.

As more patients become aware of the way doctors prescribe opioids and to their effects, the number of patients who become addicted, or worse, will inevitably drop.

“This is the first time we’ve seen this, and it’s really important.” – Dr. Andrew Kolodny


About the Author

Phillip Schneider is a student and a staff writer for Waking Times.

This article (Harvard Investigation Shows Doctors are Paid Huge Sums to Prescribe Addictive Opioids) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Phillip Schneider and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

12 thoughts on “Harvard Study Shows Doctors Paid up To Six Figures For Prescribing Opioids

  1. More opioid-bashing hysteria on a cannabis site.
    This article briefly uses a one-liner saying ‘cannabis is better’ then goes on to it’s real agenda of spreading more antii-opioid propaganda.
    The ‘opioid problem’ has little to do with real chronic pain patients such as myself, and we’re all paying the price.
    Addicted in a week ? Nonsense. Cannabis ‘better’ at defeating pain than opioids ? Mainly ‘better’ in the sense of ‘safer’ not necessarily ‘more effective’.
    Pain patients across the USA have had their medicines cut, including cancer patients, emergencies, chronic pain conditions. All over the myth that the problem either starts or is related to real medical necessity.
    It’s like the reefer madness days all over again but with opioids — yes they are killing people but a very small percentage of those people get them from a doctor. Check the statistics. From a real source.
    Aren’t our officials being bribed by tax money to legalize cannabis, in a way ? Don’t you think those billions of tax dollars influence lawmakers to encourage the dispensing of cannabis ? Perhaps a long shot and not comparable but look to the money when you see laws change. The DEA/CDC has clamped down hard on doctors and pharmaceutical companies to where there’s no money in it anymore. Meanwhile cannabis is generating billions – follow the money they always say.


    • Tell all that to my aunt, in Hospice, who has a caretaker we just caught stealing her morphine (subsequently found to have actually lost her nursing license due to using the same drug 2 years ago). The medical industry made it easy for her to hide these facts.

      Tell that to my little brother, who was prescribed hydrocodone for his degenerative back disease, who now is strung out on whatever opiate he can get his hands on. Graduated now to the needle.

      Tell that to my wife’s grandmother (98 and never has taken any such medication before in her life), but recently was put into the hospital for addition issues.

      Is there a place for opiates? Yep. But can it lead to addiction, prison time and death? Absolutely.

      Is it reefer madness that causes you such an opinion or is there an ulterior motive in your diatribe?


    • I should have added this science to the article, perhaps i’ll do another one to address the fact that cannabis is shown to be more effective than opioids for chronic pain, and for long term pain there is no study showing opioids to be effective AT ALL https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24480962.

      Patients seem to prefer using cannabis in place of opioids, many claiming it works better for them than opioids. A paper (http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2017.0012) published in the Journal of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research used data from a group of 2,897 medical cannabis patients.

      34 percent reported having used opioid pain medication in the previous six months. A majority of patients reported that cannabis was just as effective or more effective than opioids — but without undesirable side effects.

      Of the patients reporting having used opioids, 97 percent reported having been able to reduce or eliminate opioids.

      And, 81 percent reported using cannabis alone was more effective opioids.

      The authors of the study concluded: “Cannabis can be an effective treatment for pain, greatly reduces the chance of dependence, and eliminates the risk of fatal overdose compared to opioid-based medications. Medical cannabis patients report that cannabis is just as effective, if not more, than opioid-based medications for pain.”


      • Yes admin it would have been much better if the article was actually about cannabis and its healing effects rather than a 1-liner saying ‘its better’ and then a slew of anti-opioid rhetoric.
        I’ve seen this happen on 4 cannabis sites now, and it’s troubling.
        You DO know that the same government you quote saying opioids aren’t effective also have tons of data saying that cannabis has no medicinal value?
        Sad to see the old victims of drug-war hysteria now fall into the same position of finger pointing and false accusations against the latest ‘bad drug’.
        I will admit however I was only able to lower my opioid dose with the help of cannabis. I use cannabis daily to treat my pain. I understand how effective it is. The US Govt, the ones you quoted saying opioids have no value, disagree.
        Anyway, I just had to comment, taking the risk of criticism, because as chronic pain patients we are being told that the only thing that keeps us moving is ‘bad’ for us, just like they’ve told us cannabis was bad our entire lives. Still we go on, fighting the same fight, while people with minor pain tell us cannabis is the cure for everything under the sun.
        I’ve always appreciated your site. Please don’t jump on the bandwagon of the new drug war and stick to why I visit the site – cannabis discussion.


        • This might be where we part ways. I am extremely biased against opioids and the pharmaceutical industry, but not to the point that I am not quoting science that is recognized as trustworthy, and not outliers either. There is nothing more deadly in this country than opioids right now. It is heroin. I fell off a 100 foot cliff, crushed two of my vertebrae and have bone shards in my spine. I am allergic to almost all pharmaceuticals, especially opioids, so i had no choice but to find an alternative. I, like the majority of pain patients quoted in the study above, find cannabis to be effective in dealing with my chronic and long term pain. There are literally no studies showing opioids to be at all effective in long term pain, and i have seen multiple sources say that yes, it can be addicting in as little as one week of use.

          I’m not against those who use whatever they use, but i won’t stop using this blog site to expose what i can about the opioid crisis. It isn’t personal, though, by any means. I wish you all the best!


          • Well then change the name of the site, if you, as you say, won’t stop using the blog to expose the opioid ‘crisis’.
            I love this blog because it focuses on CANNABIS, remember ?
            By the way I was able to lower my opioid dose to almost nothing, soon to be off completely. However I have needed CANNABIS since 1985, and have been using it daily since, and can’t quit. How does that figure into your statistics ?h

            Liked by 1 person

              • You know what’s more mindblowing ? Tobacco deaths. You could do a piece on how CANNABIS helps people to not smoke tobacco.
                Interesting that benzodiazepenes aren’t on your graph. They cause more deaths than any of those listed.
                Out of 300 million, 50k deaths is not a crisis.

                Liked by 1 person

                • One of this site’s first posts is comparing cigs and mj. I am very passionately against cigarettes as well as opioids.

                  By the way, I am glad to hear you’re almost off them and that cannabis was able to help so much.

                  A post about how cannabis helps people quit smoking would be good. Do you know of any sources for this info? I haven’t actually seen any studies supporting it..

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Well.
                    I know you mean well when you say you’re glad I’ve been forced off of opiates by the DEA/CDC.
                    However my life has been a shambles since. I am unable to care for myself and my daily pain is unbearable at times. All so people like you can feel better that I’m ‘sober’.
                    My use of cannabis has increased while my opiate dose never went up for years. I struggle to afford my cannabis as I am disabled and therefore can’t work.
                    As far as tobacco goes (over 400,000 deaths in the USA annually), follow the money. The powers that be want you to smoke.
                    They also want you to pay cannabis taxes making them billions of dollars which are not earmarked for any social/national programs other than kicking pain patients off their meds. This will NOT help the opioid ‘crisis’ one bit.
                    So you won’t find many studies about tobacco cessation regarding cannabis. Speaking of death rates alcohol counts for about 88,000 deaths annualy in USA. So if people really cared about the dying poor they’d do something about tobacco and alcohol, two of the three cash-cow ‘sin tax’ revenue sources. The thrd ? Cannabis.
                    Please don’t take my stance as anti-cannabis. As I said I have a need for it every day. However the truth remains – kicking sick ppl in pain off their meds won’t do a damn thing to stop the illegal use of ‘opioids’ (mainly fentanyl laced pills and heroin obtained from illegal sources).
                    Do you see the facts ? Opioids are definitely NOT this nation’s #1 problem. I laugh when I hear that, at the sheer simplicity of how they’ve duped an entire nation to hate pain patients.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • I don’t hate you, i think you’re taking this all too personally. I’m sorry you were forced off pills you wanted to take, i didn’t know that from your earlier comments, it sounded like you were proud or happy that you had cut down.

                      Liked by 1 person

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