Agency: Medicare refills strong drugs despite law

by Kelli Kennedy

(AP)—A government inspector's report says Medicare routinely refilled pain pills and other medications that are barred by federal law from being renewed without a fresh prescription.

The report released Thursday found three-quarters of contractors who processed prescriptions for the program wrongly refilled some controlled substances in 2009. Those prescriptions were for strong pain killers and other drugs considered at for abuse. Those refills were worth a total of $25 million.

The report raised concerns about the prescriptions being resold on the street.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in response to the report that the inspector general was misinterpreting partial fills dispensed to patients in long-term care facilities as refills.

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