July 18, 2017
Over 3,000 physicians say Big Pharma, Feds played equal role in opioid epidemic
NEW YORK — Today the largest global social network exclusively for physicians, with 800,000 members, released new data that points to federal policies and pharmaceutical companies as primary drivers of the opioid epidemic.
More than half (52 percent) of physicians polled on SERMO said that they agree with the decision of Ohio’s Attorney General, Mike DeWine, to file suit against five major manufacturers of opioid medications. An additional 66 percent agreed with DeWine’s assessment that manufacturers of opioids victimized both patients and physicians through misleading marketing campaigns that downplayed addiction risks.
U.S. physicians overwhelmingly agree that policies establishing pain as a “fifth vital sign” were a “major contributor” to the opioid crisis, by a margin of 73 percent to 26 percent. Notably, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services moved last year to strike pain management questions from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, which impacts hospital reimbursements from the agency. At the time, CMS noted that physicians indicated the financial link between HCAHPS scores and reimbursements was a driver of overprescribing opioid medications.
One U.S. physician commented alongside the poll, “Physicians are under pressure from multiple sources—scientific fact, pharmacy marketing, hospital administrators with their patient satisfaction scores, patients who expect to be pain free, compassion, and one's own sense of right and wrong. [The] opioid epidemic was the perfect storm.”
3,108 U.S. physicians participated in the survey. The margin of error is ±2 percent.
SERMO is the leading global social network for physicians where 800,000 fully verified and licensed physicians from more than 150 countries talk real-world medicine, review what peers think of different treatment options, collectively solve cases, respond to healthcare polls, and earn honorarium from surveys. SERMO is also the world’s largest healthcare professional (HCP) polling company. The SERMO research network is comprised of 1.8 million HCPs and includes 40 percent of the U.S. physician population. Most of the 700,000 surveys SERMO conducts annually are among specialist physicians – over 70 percent of physician members are specialists. Learn more at http://www.SERMO.com.