Brown announces plan to combat prescription drug abuse

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Brown announces plan to combat prescription drug abuse

Portsmouth Daily Times – On Wednesday, Sen. Sherrod Brown announced his plan to combat prescription drug abuse. Brown’s plan targets doctor-shopping and pharmacy-hopping. The legislation is called Stop Trafficking of Pills Act (STOP Act), which is aimed at fraudulent use of Medicaid to fill prescriptions for “addictive pain medications.”

Brown is calling for a Medicaid “lock-in” to be established, throughout the United States. If enacted, the program would allow states to establish best practices when it comes to people identified as a possible defrauding user. In some cases limiting the ability to use more than one doctor and/or pharmacy.

According to Brown, Ohio’s Medicaid program spent $820 million on prescription medicines.

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which audited the Medicaid programs of the five largest states, found 65,000 cases in which Medicaid beneficiaries visited six or more doctors and up to 46 different pharmacies to acquire prescriptions. This same GAO report found about 1,800 prescriptions written for dead patients and 1,200 prescriptions “written” by dead physicians. The problem is particularly striking in Ohio, where from January to June 2010, there were more than 927,000 purchases of Oxycodone products — second only to Florida.

“While most prescription pain medicines are used as prescribed, some criminals are defrauding the Medicaid system by attempting to acquire multiple prescriptions and filling them at multiple pharmacies — undermining taxpayers and efforts to combat prescription drug abuse,” Brown said. “When criminals defraud the Medicaid system to fuel prescription abuse, it’s a one-two punch to the stomach of Ohio taxpayers.”

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