Minn. critics blast Lilly med monitoring program

Questions continue to dog the medication monitoring program managed by a contractor for drugmaker Eli Lilly, that has been working to cut costs for psychiatric medications for 20 Medicaid programs. Some of the criticism has now surfaced in Minnesota, where foes have blasted the program as inappropriate, given that Lilly not only funds it, but benefits by having the opportunity to remove obstacles to their drugs being prescribed.

Under the program, contractor Comprehensive NeuroScience, reviews use of common psychiatric drugs, and determines whether such usage is outside of standard and effectiveness guidelines. CNS says it often finds patients are taking multiple antipsychotic drugs, which aren't helping them and may even be hurting them. The state sends warning letters to physicians who prescribe outside the guidelines.

Critics, however say this isn't a good idea, given that Lilly manufactures antipsychotic drug Zyprexa, which constituted $28 million of Minnesota's medication costs in 2005. Typically, the Lilly drug isn't on a prior authorization list. However, in Wisconsin, when it added Zyprexa to a prior authorization list, the state was told Lilly was ending its program.

To learn more about these programs:
- read this St. Paul Pioneer-Press piece (reg. req.)

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