In the legislative debates which occurred over the last number of years in the various state capitals, one prominent voice has been that of the American insurance Association (AIA). The AIA is a property/casualty insurance company trade association comprised of 350 companies including major workers’ compensation companies. The AIA has been particularly vociferous in condemning physician dispensing, dismissing the needs of injured workers and the known data that dispensing doctors dispense fewer pills to each patient than doctors who just write prescriptions.
It appears that “winning” the debate is more important to AIA than any particular truth. Steve Schneider, the Vice President for the Midwest region of AIA, recently opined that dispensing doctors” might not be reporting to the state’s prescription-drug monitoring program, leading to more opioids being prescribed at a time when overdose deaths are epidemic.” Todd Foster, workcompcentral.com (August 8, 2016).
Sound awful? It would be if it were true.
But it’s not true as anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of the drug reporting law knows.
ALL dispensers in Illinois report to the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). Indeed, the PDMP is particularly helpful to dispensing doctors who can check to see if the patient in front of them is obtaining drugs from other sources and is thus “doctor shopping.”
Illinois law requires daily reporting, a fact Mr. Schneider either already knew or should have known before making such an incendiary statement which accuses physicians of law breaking so as to contribute to overdose deaths.
In a bid not to be outdone in the “lie department,” Austin Berg of the Illinois News Network, the propaganda arm of the Illinois Policy Institute(IPI), recently supplied an Op Ed (August 11) to news outlets, outlining the problems with physician dispensing of medicines from their offices. According to Berg, Illinois physicians “are allowed to sell ‘repackaged’ pills directly to patients at huge markups…. research [unspecified] shows they prescribe nearly three times the amount of drugs they would prescribe otherwise, and patients are more vulnerable to opioid addiction.”
Berg’s assertions are factually untrue. Physicians don’t sell medicines to patients as any bill goes to the patient’s insurance company and it is these companies, not any individual patients, that IPI is really fronting for. Berg’s “research” is nonexistent as the AGREED national and Illinois research recognizes that dispensing doctors actually dispense less pills to the average patient than the doctor who sends the patient off to the pharmacy with multiple refills. See, www.physiciansresearchinstitute.org (About Us).
Well over a century ago, Mark Twain is reputed to have said there were 3 types of lies: “Lies, damn lies and statistics.”
Things haven’t changed much. “Damn lies” are still alive and well.,