Feds Pay for Drug Fraud

Feds Pay for Drug Fraud

92 Percent of Foster Care, Poor Kids Prescribed Antipsychotics Get Them for Unaccepted Uses
This Huffington Post article on April 30, 2015 exposes the fact that poor and foster care kids covered by Medicaid are being prescribed too many dangerous antipsychotic drugs at young ages for far too long — mostly without any medical justification at all.
“92 percent of all kids on Medicaid receiving antipsychotics don’t have any of the limited ‘medically accepted pediatric conditions’ supposedly justifying their use. These ‘accepted conditions’ include the authority to use antipsychotics even for autistic children as young as 5 for such dubious FDA-approved conditions as ‘irritability.'”

“Medicaid spends about $3.5 billion a year on antipsychotics for all ages, largely for unaccepted uses, with nearly 2 million kids prescribed them. Nationally, about 12 percent of all the nation’s 500,000 foster care children have received Medicaid-paid antipsychotics at some point, often because they haven’t been offered proven, “trauma-informed” intensive therapies, according to Kamala Allen, director of Child Health Quality for the Center for Health Care Strategies.”

“… it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that federal officials aren’t too keen on enforcing drugging protections for either nursing home residents (whose meds are usually paid by Medicare) or children on Medicaid. ‘The federal government has done absolutely nothing of significance to rein in overprescribing,’ says Bill Grimm, a senior counsel with the San Francisco-based National Center for Youth Law (NYCL) that has launched a PsychDrugs Action Campaign, now focused primarily on pending reform bills in the California legislature.”

“… just two months ago, a Philadelphia jury found that Janssen hid the breast-growth dangers of the drug Risperdal and owed $2.5 million to a 20-year-old autistic man who developed size 46 DD breasts as a teenager. ‘This was the first case related to the condition called gynecomastia that went to a jury, but thousands more lawsuits are lined up in Philadelphia, California, Missouri, and other locations,’ The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.”

“… what’s especially absurd … is the notion that federal officials think they’re not allowed to suggest to state Medicaid authorities to stop paying for the unaccepted uses of these and other drugs.”

“As Dr. David Rubin, the director of the Policy Lab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told Mental Health Weekly, ‘The medications are being used particularly for disruptive behavior and to control the children.’ Yet nearly half of all kids getting the drugs aren’t getting other behavioral health services such as therapy, according to research by the Center for Health Care Strategies.”

“A shocking five-part series by The San Jose Mercury News, published last year, highlighted dangerous overprescribing that showed that thousands of foster care kids over a decade — nearly one in four foster teens — had been essentially ‘chemically restrained’ for their behavior with antipsychotics drugs that left many drooling, lethargic and obese.”

“Edward Opton, an attorney with the National Center for Youth Law’s PsychDrugs Action Campaign, has underscored why foster care kids are especially vulnerable. Even though they make up just 3 percent of all Medicaid children, they account for roughly 30 percent of all Medicaid behavioral spending for kids: ‘Foster children are a lucrative market for psychotropic drug sales. Unlike adults, they can’t say, “No, I won’t take any more of that drug,”‘ he wrote in a recent column on the Mad in America website.”

You should read the full Huffington Post article, it is most illuminating.

You should also contact your local, state and federal officials and ask them why this Medicaid fraud persists.

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