Nearly 1 in 3 on Medicare Prescribed Commonly Abused

Nearly 12 million Medicare beneficiaries received at least one prescription in 2015 for an opioid analgesic at a cost of $4.1 billion, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for HHS. Nearly one-third of Medicare beneficiaries received at least one prescription for commonly abused opioids in 2015, and those who did received an average of five such prescriptions or refills, the report finds. “We are concerned about the high spending and the number of people receiving opioids,” said OIG’s Miriam Anderson, who led the study, which was released Wednesday. “This raises concerns about abuse. This is a serious problem facing our country.” Among all ages, there were nearly 19,000 fatal overdoses on prescription opioids in 2014, which was the most on record and the last year for which that data set was available. Medicare officials say they are reviewing the report closely.
http://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-02-16-00290.asp