Kansas Bill to Restrict Prescriptions of Psychiatric Drugs Advances

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A bill to bring the prescribing of mental-health drugs in the Medicaid program under stricter control has advanced through the Kansas legislature, according to The News & Observer.

“Under the latest proposal, the health department’s secretary could temporarily require prior-authorization for prescriptions of new drugs until an existing, seven-member board on drug policies reviewed them,” reported The News & Observer. “The same board would be required to review the use of all mental health drugs by July 1, 2016.”

The bill was designed to replace a 2002 law that specifically blocked any kinds of restrictions in Medicaid on prescriptions of drugs for treating mental illnesses, and which many legislators now believe was a mistake. “Mental health advocates saw the law as ensuring that Medicaid participants aren’t denied needed drugs,” reported The News & Observer. “But some legislators and other state officials contend drugs are being overprescribed or used improperly, particularly with children and poor, elderly nursing home residents.”

New plan to control mental health drugs advances in Kansas (The News & Observer, March 24, 2015)

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