Medicare Part D and the Opioid Crisis

By: Mark Thornton
opioids-300x210.jpg

Medicare Part D is a relatively new “entitlement” program that provides a subsidy to retirees for prescription drugs. It is supposedly designed to help seniors, but is the drug companies that benefit most. Started in 2006, it was expected to cover 11 million, but that figure was 24 million after just one year! Not surprisingly the costs of the program have escalated far beyond original projections and are expected to continue to rise in the future.

One recent development intersects the opioid crisis. Seniors are receiving vast amounts of opioid prescriptions using this subsidy. Almost 5 million received three or more months of pills and nearly 60,000 received “extreme amounts” in 2017. Many seniors are receiving multiple prescriptions and using multiple prescribers and pharmacies. Surely, some of these extreme users are diverting pills to increase their income, but many are at risk from overdosing and dying. 

Just as sure, this would not be a problem if they had to pay the regular retain price.

 

Powered by WPeMatico