If you have been watching the news, you’ve likely heard the current administration’s support for affordable healthcare, lower prescription drugs costs, and less red tape around the FDA’s drug approval process. These platform statements are powerful to a country where prescription drug costs are significant. In fact, according to an AARP report from 2015, the price of prescriptions per household amount to more than the average family’s income per year. To many eager constituents, these campaign promises create the illusion of a future of financial stability and an adequate, cost-effective healthcare system that treats people as patients instead of dollar signs. Before we pop the champagne, we need to look at both the current system we are proposing to fix and the actions that the government has already taken against these its original statements.
The Trump administration points the finger at the FDA’s current drug approval process as a major cause for high drug prices. Critics of the existing approval process believe it to be slow, full of unnecessary procedures, and a hindrance to the approval of potentially life-saving drugs. Notice, I said potentially. (more…)
When it comes to the topic of pain medication these days, we usually read about prescription opioid abuse, which tragically claims tens of thousands of lives each year. According to a recent article in the New York Times, while the landscape of dangers is different, we should also be concerned about every day, over-the-counter pain medication. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are common pain relievers you may keep around the house to relieve an occasional headache, toothache or post-workout soreness. They are also used to treat fever, arthritis, menstrual pain, migraines and inflammation. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are among the over-the-counter NSAIDs you’re probably most familiar with.
Particularly for those with a history of coronary artery disease, NSAIDs can cause serious health issues because they can clog your blood vessels. For others, NSAIDs can do harm to your digestive tracts. Other side effects, according to the article, include, “ulcers, bleeding, kidney failure and, in rare cases, liver failure.”
There’s Rx Savings for Americans in Canada and Elsewhere If Needed!
Last week, we issued our first PharmacyChecker.com quarterly International Drug Price Savings Report, which showed that American consumers can potentially save, on average, 70% on 20 top-prescribed brand name drugs when buying from a Canadian pharmacy approved in our Verification Program. The report shows international pharmacy savings by country or group of countries: U.S., Canada, Australia/New Zealand/UK, India, and Turkey. We intend to issue this savings report every three months.
We chose the 20 medications based on IMS Health data on the most popularly prescribed non-controlled medications in 2015, and the prices were collected during February and March 2017. Ten of the medications are available in the U.S. as a generic, in which case American consumers will often – but not always – find the lowest prices locally.
In her new book, American Sickness, Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD, an award-winning journalist, currently chief editor of Kaiser Health News, and formerly with the New York Times, recommends visiting PharmacyChecker.com to consumers who choose to import more affordable medications for themselves or their family members via online pharmacies.
In general, Ms. Rosenthal’s book explains why our healthcare system is such a mess in terms of consumer and government costs; who is responsible; how we can make things better – and most importantly – what consumers can do NOW to take on the special interests and save money. It’s a great book for citizens, healthcare advocates and policy makers who want a deeper understanding of what ails our healthcare system. (more…)
This past summer we wrote about The Graedon’s Guide to Saving Money on Medicine, by the People’s Pharmacy, as a very worthwhile read. One of its sections talked about Narrow Therapeutic Index drugs for which generics are usually low cost and available in the U.S. but for some patients only the brand works: and the brands are very expensive. NTI drugs are those for which the precision of a medication’s dosage is of even greater importance than for most medications. Often these drugs are measured in micrograms not milligrams.
In its Guide, the People’s Pharmacy mentioned several popular medications that fall into the NTI category. We researched their prices and found medications on which Canadian online pharmacies offer spectacular savings, often 80%. They wrote about some of our findings in an article this week called: Can you trust Canadian online pharmacies?
As we’ve written before, many Canadian online pharmacies are really international online pharmacies because for years they’ve been partnering with pharmacies in other countries not just filling orders from Canada. But what was interesting about our data on the NTI drugs is that most of the lowest prices were in fact in Canada, not international pharmacies elsewhere.
Expect more in the New Year on how to get to the brand name drug you want at a price you can afford – including a deeper discussion on Narrow Therapeutic Index Drugs.
I’ve been around the consumer health world for long enough to have a good idea of which groups and individuals really want to find and spread the truth to Americans. Joe and Terry Graedon of the People’s Pharmacy are high on the list. So I was honored to read what they wrote about us (as people, the CEO and me, and as a company) in the latest edition of The Graedon’s Guide to Saving Money On Medicines:
“We have met the founders (Tod Cooperman, MD and Gabriel Levitt, MA). They have impressed us with their commitment to helping U.S. citizens obtain affordable and reliable medications. Even more helpful than the list of pharmacies are the PharmacyChecker.com price comparisons.”