KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Prescription Drug Trafficking ‘Major Source’ Of Medicare Wasted Spending

San Diego Business Journal: "With all the increased attention on drug costs, there's one area health policy experts and law enforcement officials say is being overlooked: the trafficking of prescription drugs. The illegal activity ... has emerged as a major source of wasted Medicare spending, according to speakers at the Sixth Annual San Diego Health Policy Conference."

The criminals obtain drugs "either by stealing shipments or burglarizing pharmacies and clinics, through illegal imports or Medicare patients - and re-label and repackage the drug to avoid calling attention to previously dispensed products. Sometimes the labels appear legitimate, although the product has been tainted or tampered with. … Law enforcement officials said they consider South Florida the epicenter of the illegal pharmaceutical drug trade" (Chambers, 4/5). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.