Prescription-pad rule decried : proposed benefits really add up

Prescription-pad rule decried
By KEVIN FREKING
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Pharmacist groups are mobilizing in an effort to delay implementation of a new law that requires Medicaid patients be issued prescriptions on tamper-resistant pads.

The law takes effect Oct. 1.

Most doctors, including those in Texas, don’t use such pads regularly.

…The law is designed to make it harder for patients to obtain controlled drugs illegally and easier for the government to save money. But the quick start date leaves little time to educate doctors and pharmacists.

I don’t think we’re that dense. The education required would be “here’s your new prescription pads”.

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“Our members are absolutely flabbergasted that they’re going to be put on the hook for denying prescriptions if something is not on a tamperproof pad,” said Paul Kelly, vice president of government affairs for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. “Our biggest fear is the negative impact this could have on patient care and access to prescriptions.”

Pharmacists’ groups have asked lawmakers and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to delay putting the law in place.

I wouldn’t want to be a pharmacist who has to say “yes, it’s the right medication, but it’s on the wrong kind of paper”. That’s precisely the kind of bureaucratic crap that makes my blood pressure spike. It helped me leave the Navy.

And now, the part I don’t get:

Medicaid is the federal-state partnership that provides health coverage to about 55 million poor people. President Bush had recommended the requirement for tamperproof prescription pads in his 2008 budget. The Congressional Budget Office projected that the requirement would save taxpayers $355 million over the coming decade, mainly through preventing fraudulent prescriptions,…

Hmm, say that again? This is proposed to save 35 Million a year just in fraud (355 million over a decade), and it covers 55 Million people. Let’s do that math:

35 Million/year / 55 Million covered = 63 cents per covered person per year? How much are these new tamper-proof prescription pads going to cost? What’s the ratio of good to fraudulent scripts? I’m guessing they’re guessing.