New GAO Report Uncovers Massive Pharmaceutical Fraud

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report in September 2009 looking at fraud and abuse related to controlled substances paid for by Medicaid.

According to GAO’s summary of the report, the government agency found tens of thousands of Medicaid beneficiaries and providers involved in potential fraudulent purchases of controlled substances, abusive purchases of controlled substances, or both through the Medicaid program. The report looked specifically at California, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, and Texas.

Key findings include:

  • About 65,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in the five selected states acquired the same type of controlled substances from six or more different medical practitioners during fiscal years 2006 and 2007 with the majority of beneficiaries visiting from 6 to 10 medical practitioners. Such activities, known as doctor shopping, resulted in about $63 million in Medicaid payments and do not include medical costs (e.g., office visits) related to getting the prescriptions.
  • Medicaid paid over $2 million in controlled substance prescriptions during fiscal years 2006 and 2007 that were written or filled by 65 medical practitioners and pharmacies barred, excluded, or both from federal health care programs, including Medicaid, for such offenses as illegally selling controlled substances.
  • Pharmacies filled controlled substance prescriptions of over 1,800 beneficiaries who were dead at that time.

For the full report and GAO recommendations, go to

For more information about qui tam law and health care fraud, contact Nolan and Auerbach, PA.