CBS News Story: Investigation: Insurance Billed $18,000 for Unwanted Pain Meds
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Posted by: Dagmar Anderson
Last evening, CBS News broadcast an investigate report by Jim Axelrod about the telemarketing, compounding, and subsequent billing of pain creams.
Please click here to view the CBS News story.
Please click here to view an expanded version of the report that aired today on the CBS Morning Show.
IACP STATEMENT ON CBS NEWS REPORT ON PAIN MEDICATION
CBS News has exposed a practice that is in many cases both illegal and unethical: providing medication to an individual in the absence of a relationship with that patient and the patient’s physician. Pharmacists are responsible and obligated to work closely with prescribers and the patients they treat to assure that the right medication is being provided to meet that individual’s health care needs. The violation of that sacred relationship by a marketing firm – especially one that engages in questionable telemarketing practices such as the one identified in this story – is reprehensible and cannot be condoned.
Patients have both a right and a responsibility to have complete information about their medications. That includes not only what the medication is for, how it is supposed to be used, and what questions to ask of their physician and their pharmacist, but also the cost of the medication to both themselves and their employer or insurer. The submission of a bill to any payor – either public or private – must be done in full compliance with the contractual terms between the pharmacy, the patient, and the payor.
Legitimately prescribed and dispensed compounded pain creams and gels bring tremendous relief to those suffering from bone and joint pain. They have the added – and very significant – benefit of being non-addictive. This not only helps patients to enjoy normal activities of daily living, it spares them the destruction of drug addiction. These medications prevent millions of dollars in abused and diverted oral pain medications, and access to pain creams and gels must be maintained. The decision to use a compounded pain cream should only be made based upon a patient’s direct examination by, and consultation with, their physician.
IACP believes public and private health care payers should aggressively address health care fraud, including taking action against any health care provider that has allegedly broken the law. If a provider has misrepresented what they have dispensed or has not followed law or regulation, they should be held fully accountable.