WASHINGTON (AP) -- An Associated Press analysis of federal data has found that Medicaid is paying millions for drugs that have not been reviewed for safety and effectiveness.
The AP analysis found that Medicaid paid nearly $198 million from 2004 to 2007 for more than 100 unapproved drugs, mostly for common conditions such as colds and pain. The AP checked the medications against FDA databases, using agency guidelines to determine if they were unapproved.
Medicaid officials acknowledge a problem but say they help from Congress to fix it.
In some cases, the FDA says, the unapproved drugs have made people sicker, maybe even killed them. This year, for example, the FDA banned injectable versions of a gout drug called colchicine after receiving reports of 23 deaths.
Investigators found the unapproved drug had a very narrow margin of safety, and patients easily could receive a toxic dose leading to complications such as organ failure.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reiterated Tuesday that she won’t intervene in the “incredibly agonizing” case involving a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl who is waiting for a lung transplant, telling members of Congress that medical experts should make those decisions.
One of the first provisions of the 2010 health reform law has had its intended effect: shifting costs from hospitals, taxpayers and families to health insurance companies, researchers reported on Thursday. It’s one of the most popular aspects of the law.
People may realize that fast food isn’t health food, but they don’t realize just how fattening it really is, researchers report. They surveyed people eating at 10 burger, chicken, sandwich and doughnut chains and found they greatly underestimated just how much they were chowing down.
A new line of caffeinated chewing gum is causing jitters among health advocates and prompting federal officials to take a new look at the proliferation of jolt-infused foods, including those marketed to children and teens.