"Secret Shoppers" Search for Scripts

Buprenorphine can be lifesaving for people with substance use issues—but only if they can get it.

In a new Annals of Internal Medicine study, researchers posing as heroin users called 546 prescribers in states with the highest overdose death rates.

The “secret shoppers” had to call multiple times, were quoted high fees and often denied appointments, especially if they said they were on Medicaid—indicating doctors may prefer other insurance that pays more.

Barriers like these can mean life or death: “Every day without treatment can lead to a deadly overdose,” says co-author Michael Barnett of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Associated Press

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