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Friday, May 6, 2011

Brown Cracks Down on Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug abuse, including doctor shopping and pharmacy shopping, are under fire with new plans to curb the problem. The Stop Trafficking of Pills Act would force national adoption of Medicaid "lock-in programs" in use in 20 states. The goal of the program is to limit the number of doctors from whom "high-risk patients" can get prescriptions and pharmacies from which these patients can fill them. Leading the charge in this battle is United States Senator Brown, an Ohio Democrat, who said a Government Accountability Office audit of Medicaid programs in five large states found 65,000 cases where patients "visited six or more doctors and up to 46 different pharmacies to acquire prescriptions." The report also uncovered some interesting facts on the subject, 1,800 prescriptions written for dead patients and 1,200 "written" by dead physicians.

"When criminals defraud the Medicaid system to fuel prescription abuse, it's a one-two punch to the stomach of Ohio taxpayers," Brown said. "Ohio taxpayers should not be footing the bill for drug abuse and diversion."Brown said the "doc-shoppers and pharmacy hoppers are on notice: Ohio taxpayers will not finance criminal activity or feed drug addiction."

Ohio's Medicaid program covered $820 million in medications last year, many of them pain medications. Many of those prescriptions that were filled on the state's account ended up being sold on the streets for total profit. These drugs are ending up in the hands of people who do not have any prescriptions from a doctor.

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