Brown's measure targets prescription-drug abuse

Columbus Dispatch

Legislation to curb prescription-drug abuse by cracking down on "doctor-shopping and pharmacy-hopping" was introduced yesterday by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.

The Stop Trafficking of Pills Act would mandate national adoption of Medicaid "lock-in programs" in use in 20 states. Such programs provide close monitoring to reduce the number of doctors from whom "high-risk patients" can get prescriptions and pharmacies from which these patients can fill them.

Brown, an Ohio Democrat, 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 1,800 prescriptions written for dead patients and 1,200 "written" by dead physicians.

Ohio's Medicaid program covered $820 million in medications last year, many of them pain medications. He said while most people are using their medications correctly, some are defrauding the system by selling them.

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Brown's measure targets prescription-drug abuse »