A government report says that Medicare is refilling prescriptions for controlled substances without a new prescription, although the practice is against federal law. According to the Associated Press, Medicare contractors did not get a new prescription before refilling $25 million worth of controlled substances like strong pain medicine. Although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services countered that many of these were partial “fills” (when a physician dispenses only part of the medication at a time), the inspector general report said there was little evidence that was the case. Three-quarters of Medicare Part D contractors paid for a total of 400,000 wrongly refilled prescriptions.
The inspector general advised officials to refuse to pay reimbursement requests for controlled substance refills. The agency recently paid over $2.7 million for drugs that two Los Angeles doctors fraudulently prescribed without a valid medical reason. The U.S. loses an estimate $60 billion a year in Medicare fraud.