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Medicare fails to monitor questionable prescribing practices, investigation finds

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f3184 (Published 15 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3184
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

An independent investigation of a government database has identified doctors and other health professionals who are prescribing worryingly large quantities of opioids, antipsychotics, and other drugs to elderly and other patients through the Medicare prescription plan.

Although the database makes it easy to identify practitioners who are prescribing large amounts of “potentially harmful, disorienting or addictive” drugs, federal officials “have done little to detect or deter these hazardous prescribing patterns,” the investigators report.

The investigation was conducted by ProPublica, an independent, non-profit investigative journalism …

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