Changes in Opioid Marketing Practices After Release of the CDC Guidelines

Adeniyi T Togun, Pinar Karaca Mandic, Rebecca Wurtz, Molly Moore Jeffery, Timothy Beebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: After the release of the CDC guidelines in March 2016, the rate of opioid prescriptions decreased. How or whether pharmaceutical companies changed their opioid marketing practices post release of the CDC guidelines is unknown. Our objectives were to (1) evaluate whether the release of the guidelines was associated with changes in total monthly marketing spending received per physician, monthly marketing encounter frequency per physician, and spending per encounter during opioid marketing; and (2) evaluate whether such changes in marketing differed between specialist physicians and primary care physicians (PCPs) and between urban and rural primary care service areas (PCSAs).

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective observational cross-sectional study using opioid marketing spending data from the CMS Open Payments database between August 2013 and December 2017.

METHODS: Single-group and multiple-group interrupted time series analyses were used to evaluate differences in the immediate changes in level and trend over time in opioid marketing practices post release of the CDC guidelines.

RESULTS: Post release of the CDC guidelines, the monthly number of marketing encounters per physician and total monthly amount received per physician decreased. However, the amount spent at each marketing encounter increased. The release of the CDC guidelines was associated with an immediate increase in level of opioid marketing spending per encounter by $0.59 (95% CI, $0.51-$0.68; P < .001) and an over-time increase in rate of spending per encounter of $0.04 per month (95% CI, $0.03-$0.05; P < .001). These changes differed between specialists and PCPs and between urban and rural PCSAs.

CONCLUSIONS: It is important to continue ongoing education for physicians on changes in pharmaceutical opioid marketing practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-513
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Managed Care
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Ascend Media. All rights reserved.


  • Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Marketing
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.


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