Doctors Overprescribe Dangerous Drugs to Medicare Patients
- Twelve of Medicare's top 20 prescribers of Schedule II drugs in 2012 have faced disciplinary actions by their state medical boards or criminal charges related to their medical practices. (Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse and can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. They are considered dangerous and include, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin.)
- In 2012, 269 providers wrote at least 3,000 prescriptions for Schedule II drugs. (Florida led the country with 52 providers. Tennessee had 25, and North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Kentucky each had more than 10.)
- About 1 in 5 doctors who wrote at least 3,000 prescriptions for Schedule II drugs have faced some kind of sanction or investigation.
- Medicare did not analyze its own data or take action against providers whose patterns were troubling, even if they had been charged with Medicare fraud or kicked out of state Medicare programs.