The Government Accountability Office audit of the Medicaid program in five large states found about 65,000 instances of beneficiaries improperly getting potentially addictive drugs at a cost of about $65 million during 2006 and 2007, including thousands of instances of prescriptions written for dead people or by people posing as doctors, USA Today reported.
The GAO report offers "an enormous opportunity to save money," said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., who scheduled a hearing Wednesday to discuss the findings.
The GAO report also reveals deficiencies in how the government manages Medicaid, a program for low-income and disabled Americans jointly run by states and the federal government. Medicaid underwrote more than $23 billion in drug costs last year, USA Today said.
The states examined -- California, Illinois, New York, North Carolina and Texas -- account for 40 percent of Medicaid's prescription drug payments in fiscal years 2006 and 2007, the GAO said.
The GAO also found:
-- About 65,000 cases where Medicaid beneficiaries visited a least six doctors and up to 46 different pharmacies to acquire prescriptions.
-- Sixty-five doctors or pharmacists wrote or filled prescriptions after being banned from Medicaid.
-- About 1,800 prescriptions were written for dead patients and 1,200 prescriptions were penned by dead physicians.
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