Tamper-proof prescriptions held up

John Dimsdale Sep 27, 2007


Lisa Napoli: October 1st was supposed to be the day doctors had to start using tamper-proof paper for Medicaid prescriptions. On Wednesday, Congress gave them a reprieve. From Washington, Marketplace’s John Dimsdale explains why.

John Dimsdale: The idea is to put a stop to people tampering with Medicaid prescriptions. The White House estimates that’s costing the government $100 million a year.

Charlie Wilson: If you had a prescription for 10, that 10 maybe could be altered to a hundred or that kind of thing.

That’s Congressman Charlie Wilson, an Ohio Democrat. With his help, Congress last spring required the use of tamper-resistant prescriptions by this Monday.

Wilson: But the October 1st deadline was just not enough time for states and doctors and pharmacists to be able to comply with this new requirement.

The hold-up is caused by more than just the printing and distributing of tamper-proof prescription pads, says Hrant Jamgochian of the American Pharmacists Association.

Hrant Jamgochian: There’s a lot of confusion with pharmacists who all the different potential tamper-resistant things that they should potentially be looking for.

Pharmacists are hoping states can decide on one standard for prescription pads that can’t be altered, erased or photocopied by the new deadline next April.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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