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HOUSE HEARING ON MEDICAID DRUG DIVERSION JULY 29

Executive Summary

HOUSE HEARING ON MEDICAID DRUG DIVERSION JULY 29 will include discussion of the recent "Operation "Goldpill" arrests and legislation introduced by Reps. Stark (D-Calif.) and Brewster (D- Okla.) to provide federal funds for electronic tracing of Schedule II-IV drugs. The hearing before the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse is billed as addressing "Pill Mills, Medicaid Fraud and Diversion of Pharmaceuticals." Witnesses will include representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the New York Department of Social Services, as well as a New York special Medicaid prosecutor and Rep. Brewster. The Operation Goldpill initiative included the arrest of 103 individuals of whom at least 82 are pharmacists. New York accounted for the largest share of arrests, with 33 pharmacists taken into custody along with 36 other individuals from that state ("The Pink Sheet" July 6, p. 3). The committee's chairman is New York Democrat Rep. Rangel. The General Accounting Office is slated to review a study on Medicaid fraud that focused initially on New York but has expanded to other states. The American Medical Association wrote Stark July 16 to outline its recently adopted position on the Stark/Brewster electronic tracing bill (HR 5051). AMA said the measure has "much merit" but is seeking further modifications. The association believes the bill should target only Schedule II controlled substances; interventions should focus more sharply on provider education; and funds should be provided to establish electronic tracing programs only in states that currently use multiple copy prescriptions ("The Pink Sheet" July 13, T&G-2).

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