Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown has introduced a bill designed to cut down on the abuse of prescription opioids. The bill would limit the number of doctors from which “high-risk” Medicaid beneficiaries could receive prescriptions, as well as pharmacies from which they could obtain opioids.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that Sen. Brown said the legislation, called The Stop Trafficking of Pills Act, would crack down on “doctor-shopping and pharmacy-hopping.”
“When criminals defraud the Medicaid system to fuel prescription abuse, it’s a one-two punch to the stomach of Ohio taxpayers,” Brown said.
This type of Medicaid “lock-in” program is already being used in 20 states, the article notes. In a press release issued by his office, Sen. Brown, a Democrat, said that an investigation by the Government Accountability Office of Medicaid programs in the five largest states found 65,000 cases in which Medicaid patients visited six or more physicians and up to 46 pharmacies to get prescriptions. The release cites South Carolina’s Medicaid lock-in program that targeted high-use beneficiaries as a success—the program led to a 43 percent drop in the number of prescription pain medications.