Medicare Illegally Paid For Viagra


Your tax dollars at work:

The U.S. Medicare program improperly spent more than $3 million in 2007 and 2008 to buy Pfizer Inc. (PFE)’s Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs for senior citizens, government investigators said.

The purchases violated a 2005 ban on covering the drugs under the U.S. health program for the elderly and disabled. Medicare administrators blamed the spending on a software error and said they would try to recover payments to private insurers who administer the program’s drug plans.

Medicare “should not have covered these drugs,” George Reeb, acting deputy inspector general for audit services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, wrote in a report released today. He recommended that Medicare work with the Food and Drug Administration to maintain a list of prohibited drugs. Medicare administrators, in a response to the report, rejected the suggestion as unnecessary.

Medicare paid a total of $3.1 million for erectile dysfunction drugs in the period examined, more than $3 million of which was for Viagra, which had 2010 sales of $1.9 billion based on data compiled by Bloomberg. Other drugs purchased included Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY)’s Cialis, the report said.

The purchases were a fraction of Medicare’s drug spending in 2007 and 2008, which totaled $133 billion, according to the report

And Medicare is run by the same government bureaucrats who think they can run the rest of the health care sector cheaper than private companies can.

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About Conservative Wanderer

Conservative Wanderer is currently Editor-in-Chief of That's Freedom You Hear! That means anything that goes wrong can be blamed on him. Previously he was a contributor to the PJ Tatler.

One response to “Medicare Illegally Paid For Viagra”

  1. 49erDweet says :

    I can understand how “billing errors” occur. The patient knows that medicare doesn’t cover it but his supplemental insurance does, so leaves it to the provider’s “claims submission process” to work it through the system and eventually find the proper reimburser. And its not the provider’s fault because only one process is “permitted” to medicare vendors. So the provider is relying on the same process as the patient, and no mal intent is implied. So stuff happens.

    Whats twists me is the mindset of the bureaucrats that it’s “only” a certain amount. It’s like gangrene has only affected a a certain percentage of their brain. No big deal!

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