Compounded drug sales skyrocket, raise concerns over fraud

Government spending on compounded drugs has soared, causing federal investigators to question the possibility of fraud and overbilling, according to Kaiser Health News.

Pharmacy compounding consists of mixing drugs in a pharmacy to individually tailor medicines for people who can't take commercially available, FDA-approved treatments.

In June, the Office of Inspector General released a report detailing the jump in spending on these compounded drugs. Payments for these medications through Medicare's Part D program increased by 625 percent since 2006, while the number of Medicare beneficiaries receiving compounded drugs grew 281 percent during the same time period.

The report indicates these sharp increases in both spending and the number of patients receiving the drugs could indicate fraud. Some of the prescriptions may not have been medically necessary, while others may not have been dispensed at all.

While the OIG's report does not make any recommendations for how to curb spending and prevent fraud, investigators plan to release a follow up report with further insights.

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