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ProPublica’s Prescriber Series Wins Top Philip Meyer Award

Investigative Reporters and Editors announced today that ProPublica’s “Prescribers” series has won first place in its Philip Meyer Awards contest. Named after the pioneering journalist and professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the award recognizes the best journalism using social science research methods.

“The Prescribers,” reported over more than a year, analyzed hard-won government data and found that Medicare’s abject failure to oversee its prescription drug program had led to billions of dollars of waste on needlessly expensive drugs, opened the door to rampant fraud, and allowed doctors to administer potentially harmful medications to patients, particularly the elderly.

Its accompanying app, Prescriber Checkup, lets users search for doctors and compare their prescribing to that of their peers, holding medical practitioners accountable in a whole new way.

The investigation brought swift results, including an announcement earlier this week of a host of changes to address issues raised by “The Prescribers” — most prominently, giving Medicare broad new powers to ban doctors for fraudulent or harmful prescribing.

The award is the first top prize for ProPublica in the Philip Meyer Awards after two successive third place finishes.

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