Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Drug Rx on chartreuse-colored paper only…not lavender!

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Sep• 18•07

While a single payer universal health care system will likely increase equality in the U.S., it will also likely lead to gross inefficiencies. For example, see Monday’s USA Today (“Medicaid Drug Rule“). A new rule was enacted which attempts to reduces the amount of fraud in physician prescribed drugs. The law–whose backers claim will save the government $150 million–offers the following solution to the problem of Medicaid patient overuse of prescription drug: tamper-resistant paper.

Yes, the federal government is legislating the type of paper physicians can use to write prescriptions. According to the article, the law

“…requires that all non-electronic prescriptions for Medicaid patients be written on tamper-resistant paper…[doctors, pharmacists and patient advocates] warn that pharmacists could be forced to return Medicaid payments if they fill prescriptions improperly, and patients could be denied medications if the prescriptions aren’t written on tamper-resistant pads.”

This is one way that single payer systems can reduce costs: by making it more and more difficult for patients to actually receive the care they desire.

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  1. […] Drug Rx on chartreuse-colored paper only not lavender! While a single payer universal health care system will likely increase equality in the U.S., it will also likely lead to gross inefficiencies. For example, see Monday’s USA Today (”Medicaid Drug Rule“). A new rule was enacted which attempts to reduces the amount of fraud in physician prescribed drugs. The law–whose backers […] […]

  2. David S. says:

    The point of the rule is to avoid drug diversion and fraud especially for controlled substances, not to limit access to medications. Is this so hard for you to figure out? Many states already use tamper resistant prescription bads.

  3. Hildy says:

    I don’t see why this is such an imposition – I only have significant experience with one health system, but here the correct RX pads are supplied to all doctors, and the government drug benefit scheme does not accept prescriptions written on different material (there are also variants for printed and electronic prescriptions).

    The problem with this particular rule is the haste with which it is implemented, not the actual requirement. A single payer system would actually improve outcomes — imagine if every insurance company mandated their own pads?