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Modifications to Inmate Pharmacy Purchasing and Monitoring Could Save $13.4 Million Annually (October 2018)


Pharmaceutical-related expenditures for inmates totaled $72.7 million in Fiscal Year 2016–17, an 88% increase from five years ago. The Program Evaluation Division (PED) found North Carolina’s failure to participate in a federal discount program caused the State to pay more for inmate prescription medications than necessary. Corrections departments in 16 other states have established such arrangements, which could save North Carolina approximately $13.3 million annually. PED also found the Department of Public Safety (DPS) cannot ensure the effectiveness of expenditures for certain high-cost medications that inmates are allowed to keep on their person; does not collect sufficient data to take disciplinary action when medications are lost during inmate transfer; and does not perform adequate data collection and oversight of prescriptions filled at local pharmacies. Finally, North Carolina does not charge inmates copayments for prescriptions; establishing such charges could generate up to $1.5 million annually. The General Assembly should direct DPS and UNC to establish a 340B discount program and direct DPS to require certain high-cost medications not be kept on an inmate’s person; establish controls and collect and analyze data on medications lost during transfer; and develop statewide contracts with retail pharmacies for local medication purchases and develop an oversight mechanism.

Final Report

Executive Summary


Full Presentation with Audio Narration (YouTube)

Full Presentation with Audio Narration (mp4)

Presentation of Findings and Recommendations

Report Series Digest

Relevant Legislation:

Agency Actions:

Press Coverage:

PED Contact:

Program Evaluation Division, North Carolina General Assembly
Legislative Office Building, Suite 100
300 North Salisbury Street , Raleigh, NC 27603-5925