Flaws in Medicare prescription oversight

WASHINGTON – The 10-year-old Medicare prescription drug benefit is popular with seniors, but there’s an apparent downside.

Since it was signed into law, the government-provided prescription program has delivered medicines to 35 million people. But the Washington Post reports that an analysis of the program finds some doctors are prescribing large quantities of drugs that are potentially harmful.

Pro Publica analyzed four years of medicare records finding that some doctors used drugs in unapproved ways, such as prescriptions for carisoprodol, or Soma. The analysis says that 500,000 prescriptions were written for people 65 and older in 2010, though the drug on the American Geriatrics Society’s list of drugs senior citizens shouldn’t take.

Government offiicals say the job of monitoring the doctors is the responsibility of private health plans not the government.

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