SC limiting some Medicaid patients to 1 pharmacy

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - South Carolina is requiring Medicaid patients suspected of doctor-hopping for drugs to choose one pharmacy for all prescriptions.

Officials hope the effort will curb narcotic abuse and save money. The state's Medicaid agency announced this week it's expanding the "pharmacy lock-in" after a pilot project saved taxpayers $6,700 per patient in just nine months.

A state Department of Health and Human Services spokesman says a lack of communication between doctors and pharmacies can allow patients to either overmedicate or stock up on pills to sell. But Jeff Stensland says medication can be better tracked by a single pharmacy.

The 48 adults initially enrolled saved the state more than $321,500. Savings included fewer filled prescriptions and hospital visits.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.