With little oversight and apparent carte blanche, a relative handful of Texas physicians wrote $47 million worth of Medicaid prescriptions for powerful antipsychotic and anti-anxiety drugs over the past two years, according to a Star-Telegram analysis. The top five doctors alone wrote $18 million worth. Grassley asked Texas and other states for the top 10 prescribers who billed Medicaid for certain drugs. The Star-Telegram used prescriber numbers to identify the doctors, then sorted and tallied the drugs they were prescribing. Also reviewed was information on other mental-health drugs that have cost taxpayers about $1.3 billion during the past five years.
Most of the drugs have gone to children and adolescents, although prescribing the drugs to children, such as a toddler, is considered “off-label” — uses not approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Now the state’s Medicaid program is among others under scrutiny, after Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, began investigating the use of mental-health drugs this year.