Top 5 Percent of Opioid Prescribers Write 40 Percent of US Narcotic Prescriptions

Forty percent of U.S. narcotic prescriptions in 2011-2012 were written by only five percent of opioid prescribers, according to a study Express Scripts (NASDAQ: ESRX) presented today at AcademyHealth’s annual research meeting.

The study identifies prescribers who prescribe opioids at a much higher rate than peers who are in the same specialty, treat patients of similar age, and practice in the same geographic region. Express Scripts’ multivariate approach to identifying high prescribers is the first of its kind.

According to the analysis, high prescribers wrote an average of 3.5 times more opioid prescriptions —4.6 prescriptions per patient compared to 1.3 in their peer group. Opioid cost per patient per day of therapy was nearly 5 times higher, on average, for patients treated by high prescribers. More.