Sen. Grassley questions neb-med substitutions

Monday, July 31, 2006

WASHINGTON - Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, expressed concern last month that some homecare companies and pharmacies are swapping prescribed respiratory medications with drugs they've compounded themselves--without telling patients or physicians. In a letter to top officials at CMS and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Grassley said Medicare patients are targeted for switching because suppliers can make money by billing Medicare for brand-name drugs and providing patients less expensive, pharmacy-made drugs. Grassley, who is chairman of the powerful Finance Committee, said he does not want to shut down legitimate pharmacy compounding but suggested that more oversight--including tracking how much Medicare spends for compounded drugs--is in order.