Keeping you updated on the latest Medicare and Part D news

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NCPDP Offers Advice on Tracking Opioid Overuse

The National Council of Prescription Drug Plans offers a white paper that defines a process that sponsors can use to communicate information about overutilization of opioids when beneficiaries switch health insurance plans.

See their recommendations here


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ProPublica: Top Drug Prescribers Have Financial Ties to Drugmakers

ProPublica uncovers that prescribers of particular drugs might have monetary motives in doing so. They reported that speakers fees and other perks coincided with the prescribing patterns of top prescribers. New ACA mandates for full disclosure of these prescriber-manufacturer relationships hope to determine how widespread this practice has become.

Read article here

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Mayo Clinic Study Looks at Prescription Drug Use

This study gathered drug utilization statistics from a county in Minnesota with a demographic distribution similar to that of the entire U.S. It found that nearly 70% of the population received a prescription drug from at least 1 drug group and over half received prescriptions from 2 or more groups. 

  • The most commonly prescribed drug groups in the entire population were antibiotics, antidepressants, and opioid analgesics.
  • Vaccines/toxoids, antibiotics, and antiasthmatic drugs were most commonly prescribed in persons younger than 19 years.
  • Antidepressants and opioid analgesics were most commonly prescribed in young and middle-aged adults.
  • Cardiovascular drugs were most commonly prescribed in older adults.
  • Women received more prescriptions than men for several drug groups, in particular for antidepressants.
  • For several drug groups, use increased with advancing age.

Read the entire study here

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OIG: Medicare Paid for Drugs Ordered by Individuals Without Prescribing Authority

This analysis used 2009 PDE data to investigate prescription drug abuse in the Part D program. It found that Medicare inappropriately paid for drugs ordered by practitioners without proper prescribing rights. The list of non-prescribers included massage therapists, interpreters, chiropractors, and counselors and the types of prescribed drugs included controlled substances.

Read the full report here