“Across the country, drugmaker representatives and pharma-friendly clinicians with ties to drug companies swarm the low-profile committees that make Medicaid drug decisions, sometimes without disclosing those relationships,” is one of the most chilling statements that explains The Center for Public Integrity and NPR’s investigation into Medicaid. From 2008 to 2016, the cost of Medicaid drugs almost doubled to $31 billion annually, so these two organizations joined forces to figure out why. As it turns out, doctors are getting a variety of perks, including payment, from drug companies for supporting the company’s drugs in relation to Medicaid, and they’re the only ones responsible for providing any sort of transparency. For example, “… psychiatrist, Matthew Brams, praised injectable mental health drugs and mentioned that he had researched them in the past. But he did not disclose the more than $181,000 their makers Otsuka and Alkermes PLC paid him to speak about them over the past two years, according the federal Open Payments database.” Unfortunately, they’re not the only influencers: “Pharmaceutical firms have tremendous incentives to be included on states’ lists: It makes doctors far more likely to prescribe their drug to Medicaid patients and can encourage other insurers to follow suit.” The quality and effectiveness of these drugs for real patients is a factor being omitted, while the focus remains with just the business aspect. In fact, “critics say that when drugmakers target these committees, states aren’t getting good deals and may also be making bad health decisions for patients.” This is another testament to the elder abuse that goes on in this country, and it becomes our responsibility to make sure it ends here by paying attention to relevant legislation that is being proposed to provide transparency in this industry.

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