WASHINGTON — Medicare is subsidizing drug abuse by thousands of beneficiaries who shop around for doctors and fill prescriptions for huge quantities of painkillers and other narcotics far exceeding what any patient could safely use, Congressional investigators say in a new report.
“Our analysis found that about 170,000 Medicare beneficiaries received prescriptions from five or more medical practitioners” for 14 types of drugs that are frequently abused, said Gregory D. Kutz, director of forensic audits and special investigations at the accounting office.
The medications were obtained through Part D of Medicare, which provides coverage for prescription drugs. The drugs most commonly abused by Medicare beneficiaries included powerful prescription painkillers like oxycodones and hydrocodone products. Oxycodones include OxyContin and Percocet.