PharmacyChecker Blog

Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
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Big Pharma Forces Women to Choose Between Dry Vaginas or Dry Bank Accounts

Dry Vaginas CommonCosts of products that improve women’s sex lives by treating a dry vagina, a taboo yet common condition, are on the rise here in the U.S. It’s bad enough to face the unfair stigma of needing medication that has anything to do with your vagina, but Big Pharma has decided to make that experience even more difficult. American women deserve to know that those much-needed products are sold at international online pharmacies for a fraction of the price tag at their local pharmacy.

The New York Times’ Katie Thomas recently published an article, Prices Keep Rising for Drugs Treating Painful Sex in Women, that highlighted this quiet conversation in the corner of the drug prices crisis. Your EpiPens and asthma inhalers are perhaps easier to gripe loudly about than meds related to personal matters. “It’s just infuriating that the price has gone up and up and up for no good reason,” said Cynthia Pearson, the executive director of the National Women’s Health Network, who expressed frustration at the lack of attention due to the stigma.

Women have seen prices on drugs, such as Estrace cream and Estring, more than double in the last five years. The article goes on to report that one woman “has resorted to ordering her drug from overseas at a cost of about $80 for a three-month supply,” which is great news for that savvy lady, but unfortunately leaves the reader hanging on how to safely order their own medication from abroad. After all, shopping for medications online can be quite treacherous: the internet is a landmine of scammers and sellers of counterfeit medication. Peer-reviewed and independent research demonstrates that when consumers use PharmacyChecker-verified pharmacies to buy medications purchased online, they receive lawfully-manufactured, high-quality medication. Not to mention those meds are typically sold at a much lower price than available at local U.S. pharmacies.

Vagifem sold in the U.S., mentioned in the article, is actually manufactured in Denmark. At U.S. pharmacies, just 8 tablets of Vagifem 10 mcg can cost women around $200, but it’s sold at international online pharmacies for as low as $20, a 90% savings. Premarin Vaginal Cream is a whopping 98% cheaper if women order through an online pharmacy in the United Kingdom that’s been verified by PharmacyChecker. Premarin sold in the U.S. is manufactured in Canada.

Vagina may be a stigmatized word, but saving money on meds? Now, that’s something to shout about.

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Why Patient Safety is My Primary Focus

Dr. Shivam Patel, PharmacyChecker.comDear PharmacyCheckers,

I have seen, first-hand, the impact on patients due to rising medication costs. As a former community pharmacist in Massachusetts, my patients wouldn’t hesitate in expressing their shock at outrageous costs. I’d often hear a “Why do my meds cost so much?!” or “I’m certain I paid less for this last month.” Sadly, there wasn’t much I could do to help these patients. Some would reluctantly break their budgets to continue on with their drug therapy, while a heartbreaking majority would assure me they would be back with the money… and never return.

I am joining PharmacyChecker because it is my hope that I can lessen the number of these stressful situations for patients. I desire for patients to focus on getting better and staying healthy instead of worrying about how they will afford their medications. Throughout my pharmacy career, patient safety has always been the primary focus, and I relish the opportunity to bring that focus to PharmacyChecker. (more…)

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New FDA Tests Indicate Imported Drugs Are Safe

 

FDA Testing Lower-Cost Imported Medications

Tens of millions of people have bought medications from foreign pharmacies – despite the technical illegality of importing those medications. According to reporting by Kaiser Health News last month, the FDA tested imported medications, apparently to see if what Americans are doing is safe. All medications the FDA tested “contain[ed] the ingredients matching the medicines ordered.”

The Kaiser Health News reporting was focused on international pharmacy options offered by local governments and school. While that’s interesting, it’s not breaking news (I mentioned it here). The FDA testing imports and saying the medications are safe, albeit begrudgingly, is breaking news. (more…)

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International Pharmacies Safer Than Your Local Pharmacy? Blister Packs vs. Loose Pills

Blister Packs Better Than Loose PillsThe verdict is in: blister packs may be a safer bet for packaging your medication. In the U.S. and sometimes in Canada, however, medications are dispensed as loose pills.

According to the FDA, over 1.3 million people are injured each year due to medication mistakes, which include dispensing errors in U.S. hospitals and pharmacies. As discussed in a blogpost by Roger Bate, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, it may be safer to receive your medications in blister packs, whether dispensed locally or from an international pharmacy by mail, and the FDA seems to agree.

(more…)

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The Myth of the Closed U.S. Drug Distribution System

By way of the craftiest of PR snakes, pharmaceutical companies infest the media, politicians, and consumers with the idea that if we expressly permit people to buy lower-cost medications from other countries, we break the “closed” pharmaceutical distribution system. This concept of a “closed” system is sadly overplayed and misleading.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is one of the leading drug regulatory authorities, but as the pharmaceutical industry continues its propagandistic efforts against legalizing importation of lower-cost medication, the myth making has got to be called out.  You’ll have to forgive me for the lengthy post: I’ve chosen to include long quotes from experts—perhaps to offset my frustrated tone—but mostly to properly inform you what we’re up against.

The fact is, you can trust the safety and efficacy of medications sold in the U.S., but NOT more so than Canada or many other countries. People are not paying attention to the perpetual lies Big Pharma regurgitates on this issue. In a follow-up post, I’m going to discuss myriad ways that the FDA is doing a much better job, but, for the moment, excuse me while I blow off sufficient “What-the-hell-is-going-on?!” steam. (more…)

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Imported Medications From Credentialed Online Pharmacies Are “So Safe”

Getting the truth about Online Pharmacies

The economist and drug safety expert Roger Bate, PhD, affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute, published a short article this week, the title of which says it all: “Credentialed online pharmacies are so safe that peer review literature is no longer interested in results showing it.” The gist is that he and colleagues have been testing medications for several years, since 2008, as mystery shoppers ordering online domestically here in the U.S. and internationally for import. The research shreds the myths of the drug companies by presenting peer-reviewed data to derive what are called “facts” about the Internet and importation. The main fact proved is that importing medications, ones ordered online, can be equally safe as U.S. pharmacies.

In the studies from 2008-2016, 822 online medication orders were tested: 275 medications from 22 international online pharmacies verified by PharmacyChecker.com (12 of which are also verified by the Canadian International Pharmacy Association); 127 medications from eight U.S.-only online pharmacies verified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and/or LegitScript.com, and the rest from websites with no verification.

Verified U.S. pharmacies sold zero counterfeits but one (out of 127) order of generic Cipro was substandard. Verified international pharmacies sold zero counterfeits but one (out of 275) order of generic Cipro was substandard. On a percentage basis, the PharmacyChecker.com-verified websites performed best (but that’s nitpicking). And for those of you thinking, well, one was substandard…that same medication is available at your local Walgreens or CVS. Read the research.

In contrast, online pharmacies with no verification (Dr. Bate calls it “credentialing”) sold eight counterfeits and 16 substandard drugs (out of 332 tested).

How about prices? When it came to brand name drug prices, the studies showed that credentialed international pharmacies were about 60% cheaper. (more…)

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