October 5, 2011
Senators Claim $150 Million Of Tax Dollars Used In ‘Drug Dealing’
A new government report says prescription drug abuse by elderly and disabled beneficiaries of Medicare cost about $150 million in 2008.
The report released on Tuesday said some of these patients went to at least five doctors to get multiple prescriptions of drugs.
The report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said 170,000 people enrolled in Medicare Part D prescription drug program went "doctor shopping" for drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone.
"Medicare Part D beneficiaries are abusing powerful drugs to fill their own addictions or to sell them on the street," Senator Tom Carper, chairman of a subcommittee on federal financial management, said in a statement.
Carper and Senator Scott Brown said the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should restrict seniors shown to "doctor shop."
“Beyond the fraud and abuse, taxpayer dollars are potentially being used to fuel the illicit prescription drug trade,” Brown said in a statement.
The report said about 19 percent of people enrolled in Medicare's drug benefit are eligible due to disability.
Brown said at a hearing on Tuesday that some of the people enrolled in Medicare are performing "taxpayer-funded drug dealing."
"Everyone always has an angle to screw the government out of taxpayer money," Brown said in a statement. "We're just doing things so inefficiently, it's mind-boggling."
He said oxycodone could sell for over $5,000 in some areas of the country.
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