Berman, however, said she struggled to understand pharmaceutical companies needed to be involved in the first place. Larger pharmaceutical companies may end up purchasing dispensaries in the future, he added. All of these pharmaceutical companies rely upon the FDA for their monopolistic protections,” said Holyoak.

It’s pretty absurd that federal law considers marijuana to have no medical value, but allows for the development of synthetic versions of the same substance,” said Mason Tvert, of the Marijuana Policy Project, which has backed many state legalization measures. That means painkiller manufacturers such as Insys have financial incentives to support the slowdown of cannabis, especially when the delays give them time to manufacture their own government-approved synthetic drugs. What’s more, Insys also manufacturers fentanyl, a painkiller that is 50 times stronger than heroin and has a deadly track record In December, six former Insys executives were arrested for allegedly bribing doctors to prescribe fentanyl to patients who didn’t need it.

I really don’t have a lot of hope for the small guy in this country,” said Dr Gina Berman, medical director of the Giving Tree Wellness Center, a cannabis dispensary in Phoenix, Arizona Pharmaceuticals are going to run me down. With marijuana now legal in more than half of the US, the budding cannabis industry and longtime underground players have grown increasingly concerned about the threat posed by powerful pharmaceutical manufacturers, which have simultaneously helped fight legalization while seeking to develop their own synthetic cannabis. Five months later it won approval for a cannabis-derived medical drug.

Pharmaceutical company Insys spent $500,000 to block legalization in Arizona. So the fact that there’s this high relationship in cardiology between doctors and companies may in fact be driving the progress that we’re making.” Williams said new drugs are, at least in part, responsible for a significant decrease in cardiovascular mortality in the past three decades.

Dr. Kim Allan Williams Sr., president of the American College of Cardiology, said he believes relationships between companies and doctors are circular. For others, education may very easily result in prescribing change leading to substantive savings for patients, employers and society.” Still, he said, ProPublica’s analysis points to areas that specialty societies may want to look at. In some cases, there are very appropriate and clinically valid reasons” for doctors who are outliers in their prescribing.

Medicare pays for at least one in four prescriptions dispensed in the country.