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  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alternative medicine, cancer, dementia, drugs, ,   

    Hospitals suing patients over bills and more! 

    Hospitals suing patients over bills and more!

    Today we’re bringing you some healthcare news that could not only affect your wallet but your overall well being too.

    First up is a story from NPR about a number of non-profit hospitals that are taking their patients to court for unpaid bills. In the legal sense, these hospitals do have the right to pursue unpaid medical expenses, however, the majority of people being sued are those who are already struggling to cover expenses as it is. These are the same people who usually only seek medical help if it’s absolutely necessary or life-threatening due to the financial strain of just a routine doctor visit. This practice is said to betray the spirit of many of the early hospitals in our country. Many of those hospitals were opened by churches to provide medical treatment to anyone who needed it regardless of social status. Now, some of these hospitals are just adding to the suffering of many low-income families.

    The Washington Post brings us a report about the misleading health information that can be found on many social media outlets. The article specifically talks about many of the supposed all-natural remedies that claim to cure cancer. One woman who had posted videos on her ‘cures’ later succumbed to cancer, yet her family left the videos up believing in the power of snake oil over medicine. You’ll find this on just about all social networks with claims that everything from baking soda to essential oils, to small doses of bleach, can cure cancer. They can’t. There is no cure for cancer and it can only go into remission with treatment from medical professionals. There are diets that can help fight cancer but they can’t stop cancer alone. If you want good medical advice, turn to your doctor and not social media.

    Lastly is probably the most worrying story for today. The New York Times tells us about a study that claims the use of several well-known medications could lead to dementia in older patients. The most notable of these medications are diphenhydramine, better known as Benadryl, and the antidepressant Paxil. It needs to be mentioned that the study doesn’t claim that these medications and others like them will definitely lead to dementia, however, if you’re 55 or over and take one of the medications mentioned in the study regularly, you may want to consult with your doctor about potential risks and other treatments.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: collusion, , drugs, , ,   

    Are drug companies colluding to raise prices? 

    Are drug companies colluding to raise prices?

    Previously, we’ve discussed a lawsuit against the country’s generic drug makers by 44 state Attorney’s General. The AGs claim that the pharmaceutical companies in question are colluding to keep the prices of generic drugs at the same inflated rate. Normally, when a patent expires on a brand name drug, it allows other drug manufacturers to make the exact same drug for cheaper. However, the lawsuit states that at least 20 companies are conspiring to keep generic drug prices from being competitive.

    Yesterday, the full details of the federal lawsuit were made public and included a number of codewords that the pharmaceutical companies used in discussions between each other. For example, ‘fluff pricing’ would refer to one of the companies charging a much more exorbitant price for a particular drug to maintain an illusion of competition. Whereas ‘playing nice in the sandbox’ allegedly referred to the companies not making trouble for each other. The lawsuit even alleges that the companies have tried to cover their tracks by instituting a no email policy and that they only communicate by phone.

    Artificially inflated drug prices can also affect the facilities that carry them and the insurance carriers that try to help pay for them. However, in the end, it’s inevitably the patient who has to shoulder the brunt of the cost. If the allegations in the lawsuit are true then the people in true need of these medications become nothing more than hostages paying an ever-increasing ransom to crooked companies.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: drugs, , ,   

    Are you being gouged for your medicine? 

    Are you being gouged for your medicine?

    Healthcare costs in this country continue to skyrocket and are out of reach of the many Americans who desperately need it. Whether it’s because of the states that refuse to expand their Medicaid programs or the fact that employers aren’t offering affordable healthcare coverage, many Americans are either uninsured or underinsured. It also doesn’t help that many pharmaceutical companies continue to put profits over patients’ needs. The most famous cases of this was by Martin Shkreli, aka the ‘Pharma Bro’ when he raised the price of a drug used to treat HIV patients from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill. While Shkrelli is currently serving time for fraud it seems that other companies are following his strategy.

    44 State Attorneys General are suing a number of generic drug manufacturers for allegedly colluding to keep their prices higher than they should be. The suit alleges that the manufacturers of a “broad conspiracy” to inflate and manipulate prices of more than 100 commonly prescribed generic drugs. Normally, when a patent expires on a brand name drug, it allows other drug manufacturers to make the exact same drug for cheaper.

    Many of the drugs the Attorneys General accuse the drug companies of overinflating the price include simple things like antibiotics to life and death drugs like those for diabetes, cancer, MS, and HIV. The increased pricing not only puts a strain on the patients who require these drugs but also on health carriers, Medicare and Medicaid. The pharmaceutical companies accused of the price-fixing claim that the drugs that have increased in price are just a minority among the thousands of generics that are made today.

    Do you take a generic medication on a regular basis? If so, have you seen the price jump dramatically in the past few years? If so, please leave a comment below.

     
  • Geebo 8:57 am on August 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , drugs,   

    Facebook Marketplace follows craigslist’s dangerous lead 

    Facebook Marketplace follows craigslist's dangerous lead

    In a previous blog post we stated “Craigslist has nothing to teach Facebook” in terms of content moderation. We defended Facebook stating they have a much better content moderation system in place than craigslist. However, it seems we may have been a bit mistaken in that defense because it seems Facebook Marketplace is following craigslist’s bad example anyway. In a report by Sky News in the UK, their investigation found illegal prescription drugs were allegedly being sold on Facebook Marketplace with impunity.

    Rather than having personal moderation on Facebook Marketplace, Facebook seems to be relying on the craigslist model of ‘community policing.’ The problem with having the community moderate Marketplace is they tend not to report illegal activity. The people who are going to Marketplace for illegal goods are not going to report anything and the people who are going to Marketplace for legitimate uses aren’t actively searching for illegal content.

    That’s also not taking into account Facebook seems to be lax in enforcing their own rules. According to the Sky News report, Facebook initially said the profiles of alleged Marketplace drug dealers didn’t violate their terms of service. The offending profiled weren’t removed until Sky News contacted Facebook personally. Most Facebook users aren’t an international news outlet who can just contact Facebook by phone. So, much like craigslist, it seems Marketplace’s community policing is a lot of lip service.

     
  • Geebo 9:58 am on September 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: drugs, epipen, , ,   

    Online Epipen sales could be dangerous 

    Online Epipen sales could be dangerous

    I’m sure by now that most of you have heard about the controversy surrounding the pharmaceutical company Mylan and how they’ve been accused of price gouging for the life saving Epipens. For those who may not know, Epipens are injections that contain the drug epinephrine which is used to save the lives of those who suffer from extreme allergies like those to food or bees. It prevents the patient from going into what’s known as anaphylactic shock. The injectors used to be affordable but recently, Mylan has increased the price of the life saving medication to the point where it’s become too expensive for many of those with the sensitive allergies.

    Unfortunately, when crises like this arise, there are always those who try to take advantage of the situation. Epipens have started appearing online for sale on less than scrupulous marketplaces. This is not only illegal, it’s also dangerous. Let’s not forget that Epipens are a drug and should only be prescribed by a doctor. If you were to buy any Epipens online you could be risking the health of the patient if it’s not the right prescription for the patient. That’s not even mentioning that there could be fake Epipens being sold that could contain no medicine or some substance that’s either harmful or ineffective, much like the products sold by overseas pharmaceutical mills.

    While Mylan’s alleged price gouging may be seen as detestable, it’s not worth risking your own life by bypassing your doctor.

     
  • Geebo 8:24 am on May 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: drugs, , ,   

    Online pharmacies could potentially kill you 

    Online pharmacies could potentially kill you

    It’s not news that prescription drugs can be priced out of reach from the people who desperately need them. They may even be desperate enough to respond to a random ad for pharmaceuticals or an online pharmacy. While these ads may appear legitimate, too many of these ads could have dangerous or even lethal consequences.

    Many of these so-called pharmacies are actually pill mills from overseas. They may promise you a brand name medication that you need for cut-rate prices but the odds are that the medication you receive will not be the medication you need. They could potentially be just a mixture of ingredients that have nothing to do at all with the medication that you need and those ingredients could not only lead to your condition being exacerbated but could induce dangerous negative reactions and side effects as well.

    There are other avenues you can pursue to try to get some help when it comes to affording your prescriptions. The obvious one is asking your healthcare professional for samples. Many brand name pharmacies have discount programs that could potentially make your prescriptions more affordable. Lastly, many drug companies offer financial assistance for certain prescriptions.

    Your health is not worth taking dangerous risks over no matter how good the savings may be.

     
    • Sandra 7:54 pm on January 6, 2017 Permalink

      This may be true sometimes, but what’s the other option…not taking any meds because you do not have enough money to afford them?

      Samples used to be an option. I know because I was a drug Rep, and I left more samples with the physicians who had lower income patients to help in this disparity. But, it wasn’t my job requirement, and I’m not sure it would be considered sound business by the company I worked for.

      Nowadays, you can’t get samples like you used to. In offices known for heavy sampling, are no longer. To apply for the free RX programs through the manufactures can be daunting and leave one feeling hopeless.

      The best way to keep drug prices down is by paying the best prices…shop around, and don’t go just anywhere because you just pay a copay. Pay attention to total cost. If you have insurance, someone is still paying for your prescription cost, and the higher the cost only keeps prices higher. Insurance companies, employers, etc all are affected by how we pay and what we pay for.

      The desperate many out there going to overseas online pharmacies? It’s a risk, but there are so many factors that I see as risky to each individual.

      It’s estimated that 10% of all RX drugs, branded and generic, are counterfeit or adulterated somehow, and this isn’t on the black market, it’s within the legitimate pharmaceutical chain. So it goes.

      Another great resource for great drug prices is through GoodRx. They offer discounts on meds, and there are no strings or scams involved. For example, to pay out of pocket for a RX that’s generic and very cheap to manufacture costs about $40. With GoodRx, it’s found at same pharmacies from $7-18!

      Get the app and see for yourself. It’s the real deal, especially if you’re paying out of pocket, this could help you manage your RX and still afford to live!

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