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February 2014

This is Your Medicare on Drugs: Fraud and Abuse Rampant in Part D Drug Program. Will Proposed New Rules Bring Much-needed Reform?

Washington Watch


Since last year, when Edward Snowden disclosed the National Security Agency’s global surveillance efforts through his release of national security documents, the nation has been focused on big data – all the information gathered by the government and private companies to help them spy on you or market information sent to you, or both.


But what if using big data resulted in helping millions of seniors fix problems of Medicare fraud? That process is underway, due, in part, to news stories from a team of reporters from the non-profit news operation, Pro Publica, which took Medicare’s own data, analyzed it and found major holes in the way doctors are regulated. Medicare is beginning to make changes to its Part D drug program as a result of the investigation’s findings.


While lawmakers strongly disagree about the Affordable Care Act, Medicare’s drug program – which provides medicine to 36 million seniors and the disabled – has been praised as a tremendous success story for government health care. But there are some serious problems with the Medicare drug program, costing taxpayers billions of dollars due to unnecessarily expensive prescribing over the program’s eight-year history, according to an investigative series by Pro Publica.


Uncovering and analyzing never-before-released government prescription records, reporters Tracy Weber, Charles Ornstein and Jennifer LaFleur of Pro Publica, found that doctors and other health professionals across the country have been regularly prescribing large quantities of drugs known to be potentially harmful and addictive to their patients, while Medicare and other federal and state government agencies have done little to detect or deter these hazardous prescribing patterns.


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Is Your Medicine Making You Sick?

Dear Pharmacist


Dear Pharmacist: You said that some drugs are related to fluoride and may cause hypothyroidism or other diseases of the reproductive tract. Which medications and why? --D.L., Ft. Lauderdale, Florida


Answer: Shocking I know! Some of the most popular medications in the world are “fluorinated” meaning they were created using a backbone of fluoride, the same fluoride used in toothpaste, insecticides and some supplements.


The situation with fluoride is that it competes with iodine in your body. It tricks the cell into thinking it is iodine because it looks similar. Once enough fluorine atoms hook onto your cell, you become iodine deficient. That could make you thyroid deficient because your thyroid gland cannot produce any thyroid hormone without iodine! Iodine protects your male and female reproductive organs, like your breasts, uterus, ovaries, prostate, testicles and all your private parts.


When you take a fluorine-containing drug, I worry that you will become deficient in other minerals, especially iodine.


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