Florida Sanctions Top Medicaid Prescribers – But Only After A Shove

by | Nov 17, 2011

In an email message, Grassley said states need to use their own records to search for trouble. “High numbers of prescriptions can indicate a busy medical practice with complicated patient needs, or they can indicate a problem,” he said. The government has an obligation to “get to the bottom of anything that looks questionable.”  (Senator Grassley)

by Tracy Weber and Charles Ornstein
ProPublica, Nov. 17, 2011, 9:03 a.m.
At Dr. Huberto Merayo’s bustling psychiatry practice in Coral Gables, Fla., hundreds of poor patients on Medicaid walked away each year with prescriptions for powerful antipsychotic drugs.
Merayo’s prescriptions for the drugs totaled nearly $2 million in 2009 alone [1], state records show.
The 59-year-old psychiatrist is also in demand by the makers of these drugs. He’s earned more than $111,000 [2] since 2009 delivering promotional talks for AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly & Co. and Pfizer, according to ProPublica’s database of drug-company payments to doctors.
This year, Florida regulators finally challenged Merayo’s enthusiasm for the pricey drugs, which are used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A state review found he hadn’t [3] documented why patients were prescribed the pills and had given them to patients with heart ailments or diabetes despite label warnings.
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