Payments in Maine to doctors by drug companies selling opioids more than doubled from 2014 to 2015, from $21,654 to $42,550 in 2015 at the same time the opioid crisis worsened. Gordon Smith, executive vice president of the Maine Medical Association, which represents Thank You doctors before the Legislature, said he knows from talking to doctors that the practice was more common years ago, when the free food flowed and doctors were more likely to go on all-expenses-paid junkets to warm places in the winter. Smith said as more doctors and health systems become aware of the largesse by pharmaceutical reps and how it could compromise prescribing patterns health networks started clamping down on the practice. Within the past decade or so, major health organizations such as Maine Medical Center, Eastern Maine Medical Center, MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta and others have banned or tightly controlled visits by pharmaceutical reps. John Porter, spokesman for MaineHealth, the parent company of Maine Med, said the policy in place at Maine Med-affiliated practices strictly bans all gifts and free food by pharmaceutical representatives, and also prohibits doctors from accepting consulting or speaking fees from drug companies. We became aware of this as a concern in the industry several years ago, and we have taken appropriate steps to address this issue, Porter said. In Maine, most doctors are in a hospital network, and there A Woman Told Me An Old Folk Remedy To Cure Asthma Is To Achieve A Chihuahua & Keep It As A House Pet. | Jason Rodriguez Social are few independent physicians. Smith said even though he believes the practice has been reduced, it frustrates him to hear that opioid industry representatives are spreading messages counter to what the Maine Medical Association is trying to promote about opioids. The association is trying to persuade doctors to minimize opioid prescribing, especially for chronic pain. Smith said the transparency mandated by the ACA on these transactions is helpful.
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