Note that the big-sounding numbers are in DOSES.
Divide by 365 for days in a year. Be generous and then divide again only by two (rather than, say, six or eight as is typical for painkillers). You're already talking 730 doses for ONE drug for ONE chronic pain patient.
So numbers like 265, 541, and 562 fewer doses correspond to less than one patient per doctor. Even the 1,826 for painkillers is less than the 2190 annual doses of a 6-per-day prescription for one chronic pain patient.
Yes, with 854,698 active physicians in the U.S., it does add up. But generic painkillers, antidepressants, and the like are cheap. This is a drop in the bucket compared to the more than $400 billion US market for all prescription drugs - or likely even the amount the drug companies spend on Congress to lobby for the drug war.
For me the big take-aways from this article are:
* The impact of Medical Marijuana on overall drug company revenue is miniscule. Unless a fad catches on among doctors and they start switching some classes of patients en masse to M.J., the drug companies are unlikely to see any substantial drop in revenue, and would be ahead to save the lobbying money.
* They might be much FARTHER ahead to start selling, reasonably cheaply, purified, standard-dose, convenient oral tablets of the several active compounds. Especially if they can get the government to declare them "orphan drugs" or some new category, so they don't have to spend a bunch on research or accept large-scale liability for possible side-effects, and can let the non-drug-company-funded researchers in the medical community continue to identify the conditions (such as intractable seizures) that these compounds improve.