Never-before-released government prescription records shows that some doctors and other health professionals across the country prescribe large quantities of drugs known to be potentially harmful, disorienting or addictive for their patients. And officials have done little to detect or deter these hazardous prescribing patterns. Medicare’s failure to monitor what doctors are prescribing has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on excessive use of brand-name medication and exposed the elderly and disabled to drugs they should avoid.
Under pressure, Medicare's director tells a Senate panel the agency will intensify the search for abusive prescribing patterns and undertake other reforms.
Pay-to-prescribe is illegal, but doctors say they haven’t been influenced by the money they get for promoting drugs they also prescribe to large numbers of their patients.
Massage therapists, athletic trainers, interpretersand others who aren’t allowed to write prescriptions apparently issued at least417,000 under Medicare.
Echoing a ProPublica investigation, a report finds hundreds of doctors with questionable and potentially dangerous prescribing patterns. In a response, Medicare says it will step up monitoring and review the list for fraud or abuse.
The release of Medicare Part D records changes the conversation about how practitioners prescribe drugs -- and indicates the government could do more to ensure they do so safely.
Former government officials, analysts and researchers say Medicare could improve oversight of its Part D drug benefit with these steps.
ProPublica obtained Medicare Part D data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the Freedom of Information Act. Here follows more information about the data and how we analyzed it.
Medicare’s popular prescription-drug program serves more than 42 million people and pays for more than one of every four prescriptions written nationwide. Use this tool to find and compare doctors and other providers in Part D in 2015.
Prescription data obtained by ProPublica shows wide use of antipsychotics, narcotics and other drugs dangerous for older adults, but Medicare officials say it's not their job to look for unsafe prescribing or weed out doctors with troubled backgrounds.
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