Compounded pharmaceutical fraud emerged in 2015, but it came to a grinding halt in 2016, and now federal authorities are working through the process of investigating the pharmacies and doctors that billed thousands of dollars for a tube of cream.
Spending on compounded medications peaked for Tricare in April 2015, when the agency spent $545 million in a single month. New screening procedures brought that figure back to earth, but state and federal prosecutors were just beginning to bring charges against suspects in Florida and Tennessee, with potential offshoots in Pennsylvania and Texas.
Tricare wasn’t the only payer that lost a lot of money. The OIG found that Medicare spending on compounded drugs increased 625% between 2006 and 2015, including a 3,466% spike in topical creams and ointments. Attempts to claw back that money have only just begun.