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  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: diabetes, drug prices, healthcare, insulin   

    Insulin prices are killing patients! 

    Insulin prices are killing patients!

    We think that it goes without saying that Diabetes is no joke. The metabolic disorder can affect anyone regardless of age, social status, or background. This requires the majority of diabetes patients to be on an insulin regimen for the rest of their lives. When insulin was first discovered the people who first discovered it refused to commercialize the drug claiming that it seemed unethical to profit from such a critical and life-saving drug. However, it seems like today’s pharmaceutical manufacturers have no such qualms about prioritizing profits over treatment.

    Over the past decade or so, prices of insulin have skyrocketed even though there have been no major advancements in the manufacturing process. While there are three companies that make insulin in the US, their prices aren’t what you could consider competitive as they’re all equally expensive pricing insulin out of the reach of many who need the drug to live. This has led many patients to try to ration their insulin supply which isn’t recommended. This can and has led to some patients dying from lack of insulin. This has forced many people seeking treatment to buy their insulin in Canada where not only can you buy insulin over the counter but you can buy it at a tenth of the US price.

    However, this is not a viable option for most diabetes patients. Some can hardly afford to leave their own city let alone travel to Canada. This has led to people forming ‘grey markets’ where they can buy or trade for supplies to help treat their diabetes. In what is supposed to be one of the most medically advanced countries in the world, people are dying because they can’t afford a drug that they need just to survive. Something can be done about this, however, those who control the supply refuse to do anything.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , healthcare, HIPAA, , quest diagnostics   

    Giant medical lab bleeds patient information! 

    Medical lab bleeds patient information!

    If you’ve ever had a blood test at your doctor’s office that they had to send to a lab, chances are that they may have sent it to Quest Diagnostics. Quest is one of if not the largest medical testing corporation in the country. Due to the sheer amount of testing and processing that Quest does, they must have their logistics down to a T to be able to handle so many patients. However, recent events have shown that even a well-oiled machine is vulnerable to breakdown.

    Within the past few days, it’s been reported that Quest has had a patient data breach on a massive scale. According to reports, close to 12 million patients have had their personal data exposed due to a billing vendor giving unauthorized access to an unidentified person. This information is said to have included financial information such as credit card numbers, medical information, and personal information. Quest claims that the results of any testing have not been exposed but they have also notified law enforcement of the breach.

    Besides being a PR nightmare for Quest, this could end up being very costly for them as well. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA as it’s better known as the government could levy hefty fines against both Quest and their billing vendor for compromising such information. So far the largest HIPAA violation fine has been $5.5 million levied against a hospital that allegedly exposed over 100,000 patients’ information. With Quest and its vendor reportedly exposing the information of 12 million patients we could sadly see a new record being set.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , healthcare, , teachers   

    Should teachers have to pay for their own substitutes when sick? 

    Should teachers have to pay for their own substitutes when sick?

    The one profession that is probably the most underpaid but most needed is a school teacher. In a state like California that is possibly the richest state in the country, you might think that teachers are paid a fair wage and have a decent benefits package. As one story has shown us recently that may not be the case. A San Francisco teacher who is currently undergoing cancer treatment has to pay for her substitute out of her own paycheck. Sadly, this is not some rare exception for California teachers as it’s been this way since the ’70s.

    The teacher in question has half of her paycheck deducted each pay period to pay for her temporary replacement while she undergoes treatment. Public school teachers in California don’t pay into the state disability insurance program and can’t draw benefits from it. The teachers only get 10 sick days a year and 100 extended days of sick leave. It’s during these sick leaves when they have to pay for a substitute teacher out of their own pockets.

    In many instances, teachers on extended leave are more concerned with getting better than fighting this drastic cut in pay. However, many teachers return to work too soon in order to try to provide for their families. No family should have to worry about losing their home or worse when trying to recover from a major illness. Is it time that we not only rethought how we treated our teachers but the whole healthcare paradigm as well?

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FDA, glucose meters, hate groups, , healthcare, , test strips, , video doorbells   

    FDA warns about test strips, video doorbells being stolen, and Airbnb to ban hate groups 

    FDA warns about test strips, video doorbells being stolen, and Airbnb to ban hate groups

    If you happen to have a condition where the use of glucose meters and test strips are required, the FDA has issued a warning about using pre-owned test strips that you may find for sale online. While there has not been a report of these strips impacting anybody’s health negatively yet, the FDA warns against the practice of purchasing pre-owned strips as they could potentially give out incorrect readings which could lead to imbalances in the delicate measurement of medicine required to aid in keeping your condition under control. While it may seem like a way to save money, the FDA is also saying that some of these strips have been banned from the US as they’ve been known to cause infections. The mixing and matching of meters and test strips is something the FDA has been trying to discourage for years.

    If you have a video doorbell designed to keep thieves away from your front door, you may be facing a new issue lately. it’s now being reported that a rash of video doorbell thefts have been occurring in many major population centers across the US. Even though the higher-end doorbells have been recording the thefts, there haven’t been an equal amount of arrests. This is due to the fact that either police do not have the resources to track down every doorbell thief or that the thieves are disguising themselves before stealing the items. As can be expected with most stolen items, they can end up for sale online. Both of the major manufacturers of these types of doorbells, Ring and Nest, both have programs to assist customers whose devices have been stolen. However, it is always recommended that you contact the police first.

    Gizmodo is reporting that Airbnb is actively trying to dissuade and in some cases outright banning hate groups from using their service. A convention being held by hate groups as designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center later this year. Gizmodo brought it to the attention of Airbnb that many attendees of the convention had planned to use Airbnb while participating at the convention. Airbnb has said that these hate groups violate their community standards and will look to enforce that policy and have already banned several well-known members of these groups. How Airbnb will choose to keep these groups from using their services in the future remains to be seen.

     
  • Geebo 10:26 am on February 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Adam Schiff, Andrew Wakefield, anti-vaxxers, healthcare, , vaccines   

    Should social media companies police anti-vaxx groups? 

    Should social media companies police anti-vaxx groups?

    There once was a time in this country when people were grateful for advancements in medical science such as the polio vaccine. People of a certain age still bare the small scar that the initial polio vaccines carried but such a small price to be paid to prevent such a horrible disease. Then in the late 1990s, a British doctor by the name of Andrew Wakefield publishes a study that alleged a link between childhood vaccines and autism. Even though Wakefield’s claims were quickly disproven that hasn’t stopped an entire movement of people who refuse to vaccinate their children over fears of their children becoming autistic. This movement has been dubbed by many as the Anti-Vaxx movement and has proliferated across the internet.

    Anti-Vaxx groups have found their core audience on places like Facebook and YouTube where their misinformation continues to find a top footing among the sites’ search algorithms. Because of that, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff wrote to both Google and Facebook requesting they take action claiming that these Anti-Vaxx groups are a “direct threat to public health” and that it undoes “progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases.” Facebook responded by saying that they were looking into the matter. Meanwhile, pockets of outbreaks of diseases that were almost thought to have been eradicated have reemerged. So the question remains should companies like Facebook and Google do something about Anti-Vaxxer groups?

    Neither of these companies has to be a complete censorship tyrant when it comes to Anti-Vaxxing. However, due to the overwhelming scientific evidence in favor of vaccinating children against these preventable diseases, they can tweak their search algorithms to better promote more responsible content. Just in doing the research for this post, the Google search for Andrew Wakefield came up with more content about how Wakefield was supposedly maligned rather than being debunked. We realize that some people will never be shaken from their misguided belief that vaccines cause autism but if new people could be stopped from being indoctrinated into this dangerous belief then the better off our children and future generations will be.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: healthcare, Humana,   

    Is retail’s venture into healthcare dangerous? 

    Is retail's venture into healthcare dangerous?

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that retail giant Walmart may be in talks to acquire one of the nation’s leading health insurers in Humana. If the acquisition talks were to be true, this would just be the latest in a series of talks between retail outlets and healthcare providers, but is it a good trend?

    Currently, pharmacy chain CVS is in talks to purchase Aetna, and Amazon has been looking to get into the pharmacy management business. With these acquisitions are we headed to a future if a healthcare cabal where only a few corporations can control reimbursement rates? It does seem to appear that way.

    With retail heading towards a duopoly between Walmart and Amazon these two companies once again are showing signs of trying to be all things to all people by also trying to control healthcare. If this trend continues, we may be seeing a single payer healthcare system in our future, but not one administered by the government for all citizens but rather by the profit driven iron fist of a possible single corporate entity for only those who could possibly afford it.

     
  • Geebo 10:47 am on October 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , healthcare,   

    Are Amazon pharmacy rumors changing the healthcare landscape? 

    Are Amazon pharmacy rumors changing the healthcare landscape?

    Previously, we’ve posted about rumors of Amazon getting into the Pharmacy Benefit Management business. Those rumors became more substantial recently as the St. Louis Dispatch reported that Amazon has received approval for wholesale pharmacy licenses in at least 12 states.

    While Amazon has refused to comment on these license approvals or whether or not they’re getting into the wholesale pharmacy game, that hasn’t stopped some businesses from reacting. Pharmacy chain and industry leading benefit manager CVS has put a bid of $66 million to try to purchase health insurer Aetna. If the purchase goes through, this would put CVS on par with UnitedHealthcare who has their own healthcare and pharmacy benefits. This would streamline pharmaceutical procedural operations for the potentially new CVS/Aetna and has the potential to save consumers money with their healthcare and pharmacy benefits being under one roof.

    However, the Amazon effect on this story should not be ignored. Billions of dollars have been put into action just on the rumor that Amazon is getting into the pharmaceutical market. When one solitary company has historically wielded that much power it ends up being targeted by the Federal Trade Commission. Maybe not during this administration, but in the future could we see Amazon being broken up like Bell Telephone was in the 1980s? If history is any indicator than the answer leans toward yes.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on October 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , healthcare,   

    Is Amazon getting ready to enter into the pharmacy market? 

    Is Amazon getting ready to enter into the pharmacy market?

    If you have health insurance you might be familiar with having your prescription drugs being delivered by mail. Many health insurers use pharmacy benefit managers, PBMs for short, as middlemen between the pharmaceutical companies and the consumers. The PBMs determine which prescription drugs are covered under you insurance and at what percentage. Many of these PBMs encourage prescriptions to be filled by them to be mailed to the consumers. They offer some pretty substantial discounts to customers who use this procedure. Now, rumors are circulating in the business world that online home delivery giant Amazon is looking to enter the PBM market.

    There are pros and cons to Amazon moving into the pharmacy space. One of the pros is that this will offer more competition, as the PBM scene is ruled by only three companies, CVS, Express Scripts and United Healthcare. More choices for consumers is always a good thing as it could lead to competitive pricing for prescription drug coverage. However, the con could be that if Amazon does enter this market it could actually result in less competition as Amazon has a history of not being to fond of any competition.

    The even bigger problem with Amazon entering into this space is Amazon’s usual problem of trying to be all things to all people, a faceless global corporation that pervades itself into every facet of our lives. Is that what we really want, because that scenario benefits no one except Amazon. If we’re not careful Amazon could become a mega-monopoly with no one to challenge them.

     
  • Geebo 10:56 am on November 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: healthcare,   

    Don’t believe all the health stories on social media 

    Don't believe all the health stories on social media

    In the years prior to the internet, there was a lot of ignorance when it came to knowledge of medical issues. During the 1980s, there was a lot of misinformation and fear when it came to AIDS. There was so much bad information out there about how AIDS and HIV can be contracted, that many people treated it like leprosy. It was only through years of education and public information have we greatly reduced that stigma.

    Now in the days of the internet with access to the all of world’s knowledge we should be more enlightened when it comes to outbreaks of certain diseases. The problem is that with social media, the fear and misinformation have an audience equal to the truth.

    According to the Huffington Post, at the height of the Zika virus onset, the most stories read and shared on social media about the subject were either conspiracy related or just flat-out wrong. The same thing happened with the Ebola scare a few years back, and the argument over vaccinating your children seems to be eternal.

    When the fear and misinformation become more dominant than facts we could find ourselves returning to the days of leeches, blood-letting and releasing our humors. That may be a hyperbolic example but it can happen slowly over time if we’re not careful enough.

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

    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.

     
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