A Miami doctor wrote nearly 97,000 prescriptions in 18 months for mental health drugs. An Ohio physician wrote more than 100,000 prescriptions in two years. A Texas doctor wrote more than 14,000 prescriptions for the anti-anxiety drug Xanax. These alarmingly high prescriptions numbers for mental health drugs covered by Medicare and Medicaid have prompted Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) to call for an investigation, the Associated Press reports.
Minnesota doctors are again under the microscope of an influential U.S. senator from Iowa — this time because of concerns that expensive medications are being overprescribed at great cost to the publicly funded Medicaid and Medicare programs. U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, notified federal authorities Wednesday that he found potential examples of overprescribing after requesting lists from states, including Minnesota, of doctors who issued the most prescriptions for antipsychotic and narcotic medications in 2008 and 2009.
Even by Miami-Dade’s reputation for Medicare fraud, the indictment was a shocker: American Therapeutic’s patients could not feed themselves or control their own bodily waste. Many lacked the mental capacity to respond to counseling; instead they simply stared at walls or watched TV. An employee complained that those patients should be ineligible for Medicare since they could not benefit from treatment.She got fired. That launched whistle-blower and criminal investigations that led to the Justice Department’s takedown Thursday of Miami-based American Therapeutic Corp., the nation’s largest chain of mental health clinics.
Based on the huge numbers of prescriptions written by a Miami psychiatrist, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is continuing to pressure federal officials to investigate why some doctors write stunning numbers of scripts for tax-funded Medicare and Medicaid programs. In his latest volley, a letter sent Wednesday to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Grassley demanded exact answers to three pointed questions about what her department is doing to address the problem. “The federal government has an obligation to figure out what’s going on here,” Grassley said in a statement e-mailed to The Miami Herald Wednesday. “The taxpayers are footing the bill, and Medicare and Medicaid are already strained to the limit. These programs can’t spare a dollar for prescription drugs that aren’t properly prescribed.
The drug company Pfizer is best known for Lipitor, a drug that brings cholesterol down and Viagra, a drug that brings other things up. But the “world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company” which sits between Goldman Sachs and Marathon Oil on the Fortune 500, is also closely associated with a seemingly never-ending series of scandals.