As part of his war against overprescription and fraud, Sen. Charles Grassley asked states to share data on doctors who write colossal amounts of prescriptions for drugs covered by Medicaid. At this point, at least four states are holding out, and Pharmalot’s Ed Silverman is naming names. Montana, Alabama, Wisconsin and New Jersey have declined Grassley’s request, and a commenter says Michigan, which didn’t name names, belongs on the list as well.
Silverman attempted to contact the four holdouts he listed and gleaned what other information he could from other published sources. The reasons officials gave are, for the most part, well-worn: The data’s too expensive to collect, it doesn’t have enough context and, according to Alabama, might wrongly pinpoint physicians with legitimate reasons for prescribing all those drugs.
In reply, Silverman lets the already disclosed data speak for itself:
… in Florida, the top Zyprexa provider wrote 1,356 scrips for 309 patients in 2008 and 1,238 for 236 last year, compared to the 10th-highest prescriber each year who wrote 256 for 55 patients and 192 scrips for 30 people, respectively (more here). In Texas, one doc authorized 13,596 filled scrips for Xanax in 2008, and increased that to 14,170 filled in 2009. The doc who occupied the lowest ranking in the top 10 prescribers wrote just 1,444 and 1,696, respectively. The list goes on…
AHCJ members can read more about getting Medicaid prescribing data from states in this article by Christina Jewett. Jewett, now at CaliforniaWatch, requested Medicaid data from a number of states for an investigation for ProPublica.