New York State’s Medicaid Prescription Drug Spending Examined
The New York Times on Wednesday examined prescription drug spending under New York state's Medicaid program, which ranks highest in the country for total prescription drug spending at $3.82 billion in 2004 and second in the country for prescription spending per Medicaid beneficiary. Some of the growth in New York's prescription drug spending -- which has risen from $1.7 billion to $3.8 billion since 1999 -- can be attributed to the general rise is prescription costs, but much of the increase can be "traced to New York's failure to spend its money more prudently," according to the Times.
New York often pays more for prescriptions than other states' Medicaid programs and "lacks even the most basic controls that dozens of other states and private health insurers have used," the Times reports.
For instance, prescriptions that are controlled in other states are "often dispensed freely [in New York] and at higher prices, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars," the Times reports. Further, pharmaceutical industry lobbying in New York has stalled attempts to reduce costs and has formed an "unusual loophole" to a recently created preferred drug list that allows doctors who wish to prescribe drugs not on the list to simply call the state Department of Health, according to the Times (Luo, New York Times, 11/23).