This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

NY Audit Finds Painkiller Prescription Errors

MICHAEL VIRTANEN

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) â¿¿ New York auditors reported uncovering 325,000 errors and inconsistencies in prescriptions for painkillers and other commonly abused drugs in a review of 28.5 million prescriptions dispensed over 15 months.

The audit said the state Health Department's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement has tightened processes but it still faulted poor controls over unused prescription forms and inconsistent bureau inspection practices. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said the bureau needs to pursue new ways to prevent, detect and prosecute prescription fraud, while acknowledging a new law to curb abuse by requiring electronic prescriptions and a statewide database for "real time" online review.

The painkillers Oxycodone and Hydrocodone and the sleep drug Ambien accounted for nearly half the drugs auditors found filled 565,000 times in 2010-2011 from prescriptions with errors or inconsistencies. "The abuse of prescription medications has reached epidemic proportions and the costs to society are enormous," DiNapoli said.

The audit showed 130,000 prescriptions with an invalid Drug Enforcement Administration number not matching the prescriber. Another 180,000 prescription numbers appeared twice, indicating they were filled at multiple locations or with inconsistent information, while 90,000 were refiled more than 157,000 times beyond their authorized refill quantities.

In their response to the audit, state health officials said the changes under the law signed in August will help eliminate paper prescriptions and illegal diversions, while enabling the bureau to share more information with doctors, pharmacists and police.

Electronic prescribing is scheduled to be mandatory in New York starting Dec. 31, 2014, according to the Health Department.

Meanwhile, the bureau is updating its computer system and expanding its analytical staff and said it is "well aware" of the value of data mining, something the auditors said it should do more to find illicit drug diversions.

Health officials also said the 325,000 records cited comprise less than 0.15 percent of approximately 218 million official prescription forms it provided to practitioners during the 15-month period. Their previous analysis of errors and inconsistencies over several years have shown that most discrepancies result from data errors or pharmacy technical problems, not drug diversion or abuse, they said.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,265.99 +109.14 0.64%
S&P 500 2,011.36 +9.79 0.49%
NASDAQ 4,593.4250 +31.2360 0.68%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs