The government is paying millions for risky medications that have never been reviewed for safety and effectiveness but are still covered under Medicaid, an Associated Press analysis of federal data has found.
Taxpayers have shelled out at least $200 million since 2004 for such drugs. Yet the Food and Drug Administration says unapproved prescription drugs are a public health problem, and some unapproved medications have been linked to dozens of deaths.
Millions of private patients are taking them as well, and their availability may create a false sense of security.
The AP analysis found that Medicaid, which serves low-income people, paid nearly $198 million from 2004 to 2007 for more than 100 unapproved drugs. Data for 2008 were not available but unapproved drugs still are being sold. The AP checked the medications against FDA databases, using agency guidelines to determine if they were unapproved. The FDA says there may be thousands of such drugs on the market.
READ MORE @ AP