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As federal regulators try to crack down on compounding pharmacies over safety concerns, a new report finds that spending by the Medicare Part D program for these medicines rose more than 600 percent over the past decade. And federal auditors say the trend raises questions about whether the drugs, which are customized for specific patient needs, were medically necessary or dispensed appropriately.

Between 2006 and 2015, Medicare Part D spending for compounded drugs went from $70 million to $508 million, a 625 percent increase, according to the report released Wednesday by the Office of the Inspector General at the US Health & Human Services. By comparison, spending for all prescription drugs covered by the program rose 167 percent during the same period.


Last year, though, spending increased for compounded drugs by 56 percent, to $182 million, which was a much higher rate than in previous years. The OIG also found that the number of beneficiaries who received compounded drugs climbed by 154 percent, which outpaced the 76 percent growth in the number of beneficiaries receiving all drugs covered by the program.

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