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Feds Pay for Drug Fraud: 92 Percent of Foster Care, Poor Kids Prescribed Antipsychotics Get Them for Unaccepted Uses

by Art Levine
Huffington Post

Excerpts:

The release in late March of an alarming new report by federal investigators has confirmed in shocking new detail what has been known for years: Poor and foster care kids covered by Medicaid are being prescribed too many dangerous antipsychotic drugs at young ages for far too long — mostly without any medical justification at all.

The report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General examined in depth nearly 700 claims filed in 2011 in five of the biggest prescribing states — California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and New York — and discovered that two thirds of all the prescribing with these popular and costly “second generation antipsychotics” (SGAs) raised high-risk “quality of care” concerns.

The report found 92 percent of all kids on Medicaid receiving antipsychotics don’t have any of the limited “medically accepted pediatric conditions” supposedly justifying their use. These “accepted conditions” include the authority to use antipsychotics even for autistic children as young as 5 for such dubious FDA-approved conditions as “irritability.”

Medicaid spends about $3.5 billion a year on antipsychotics for all ages, largely for unaccepted uses, with nearly 2 million kids prescribed them. Nationally, about 12 percent of all the nation’s 500,000 foster care children have received Medicaid-paid antipsychotics at some point, often because they haven’t been offered proven, “trauma-informed” intensive therapies, according to Kamala Allen, director of Child Health Quality for the Center for Health Care Strategies.

Read the full article here.

See Also:

Foster Care Abuse: Drugging Children Against Their Will

California’s Crisis: 1 Out of Every 4 Children in California’s Foster Care Prescribed Powerful Psychiatric Drugs

 

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