Howard: Probing data over a 29-month period, you and your fellow researchers found that overdose deaths are higher where opioids are most prescribed, and that they’re most prescribed where doctors are most marketed to by drug companies. How do the drug companies market to doctors?
Hadland: The most common way is to take doctors out for a meal. There’s a number of other strategies, including paying for speaker fees or honoraria, but it’s these meals that are most common. The same doctor will be taken out sometimes dozens of times.
It is legal to take doctors out for a meal, or cater for the whole office and give a dog-and-pony show, ostensibly for providing information on safe prescribing, but really to drum up sales.