MIAMI (AP) — Medicare routinely refilled pain pills and other restricted medications that are barred by federal law from renewal without a fresh prescription, government inspectors said in a report Thursday.

The report based on 2009 data found three-quarters of contractors who processed prescriptions for the Medicare Part D program wrongly refilled some medications classed as Schedule II controlled substances, which include strong pain killers and other drugs considered at high risk for abuse. Those refills were worth a total of $25 million.

"Paying for such drugs raises public health concerns and may contribute to the diverting of controlled substances and their being resold on the street," said the report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services inspector general.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in response to the report that the inspector general was misinterpreting partial "fills" dispensed to patients in long-term care facilities as refills. Partial fills occur when a pharmacist does not dispense all doses of the prescribed medication at one time. But the report said there was little evidence of that.

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