The government's ongoing probe of hospitals and physicians overbilling Medicare for the breast-cancer drug Herceptin found errors in more than three-quarters of all claims that it audited.
Three audits released recently by HHS' inspector general's office concluded many providers have been billing Medicare for full multiuse vials of the drugs when patients actually needed only some smaller portion. Medicare doesn't pay healthcare providers for any part of the drug that is discarded because Herceptin from opened multiuse vials can be preserved for up 28 days and used in other patients.
For example, 85% of the 1,073 Herceptin vials used between 2008 and 2010 (PDF) in Ohio and Kentucky were billed incorrectly, a recent audit found. Auditors recommended recouping the $1.2 million spent on the drugs for those cases.