Report on Medicare Cites Prescription Drug Abuse

 Medicare is subsidizing drug abuse by thousands of beneficiaries who shop around for doctors and fill prescriptions for huge quantities of painkillers and other narcotics far exceeding what any patient could safely use, Congressional investigators say in a new report.

The medications were obtained through Part D of Medicare, which provides coverage for prescription drugs. The drugs most commonly abused by Medicare beneficiaries included powerful prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone products.

In one case described in the report, a Medicare beneficiary in Georgia received a 150-day supply of oxycodone in just 27 days by obtaining seven prescriptions from four doctors. Over the course of a year, the woman received prescriptions for a total of 3,655 oxycodone pills (a 1,679-day supply) from 58 different prescribers, and she filled them at more than 40 pharmacies.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/04/health/policy/04medicare.html?_r=1&smid=fb-share

The 13-page GAO Report can be accessed at: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-104T

Source: The New York Times – October 3, 2011

Comments

  1. My belief is that tracking by computer, the patient, and limiting them to a 60 supply, is the necessary system. Legislation to prevent multiple physician use must be tracked as well, there are people who have genuine pain concerns and they should not be penalized. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.

    Medicare should have programs in place to monitor the practise of shopping for an MD.

    Let’s not forget that there are people who are truely in pain, and I have watched an Uncle die of bone cancer that oxycotin was the ONLY thing that would touch his pain.

    Sincerely,
    WJA,LCDC

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