“For many years the drug was sold exclusively under the brand name Suboxone, but it is now produced by several different drug makers and generates nearly $2 billion in sales annually.
HHS broadly estimates the added cost of treating new patients at between $43.5 million and $313 million in the first year alone. Many of the patents are low-income and the bills for treating them – about $4,300 annually for each patient – will often be paid by Medicaid use, with much of the money earmarked for addiction treatment.
The additional cost to taxpayers for expanding buprenorphine treatment, according to HHS, will be more than offset by the health benefits achieved by getting opioid addicts into treatment, which the agency generously estimates at $1.7 billion in the first year.
But some addiction experts have sounded a note of caution, warning that buprenorphine prescribing has already become a lucrative cash cow for some unscrupulous doctors.
“From the provider’s perspective, collecting $5,000 yearly from 100 patients amounts to an annual gross income of $500,000, with low overhead and no costs associated with billing insurance. This economic bonanza is causing many physicians to abandon traditional medical practices. A primary care physician remarked that he earns as much in one day in the buprenorphine clinic as he does the rest of the week in primary care.”
Source: PainNewsNetwork.org – May 25, 2016