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  • 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.

  • Geebo 2:13 pm on August 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cpap machine, healthcare, sleep apnea   

    It’s dangerous to buy secondhand CPAP machines online 

    It's dangerous to buy secondhand CPAP machines online

    Here’s a little fact you may not have known. It’s actually against the law to sell a used CPAP machine online. Those are the machines that assist sleep apnea patients with their breathing at night. In case you were unaware, sleep apnea is a condition that affects numerous people where they stop breathing during the night while they sleep. It can be a potentially fatal condition so it’s important that sufferers have their own CPAP machines. Unfortunately the machines can be quite expensive and many people look to purchase a used one online. There are two problems with the scenario. The first is, as I mentioned, it’s illegal to sell a CPAP machine online because you need a doctor’s prescription to purchase one. The second problem is that the machine you’re buying online may not match your prescription and could exacerbate your condition.

    If you do find yourself in need of a CPAP machine but you may nit have the funds to purchase a brand new unit you can look to the CPAP Assistance Program and they may be able to assist you as they sell refurbished CPAP machines at a deep discount.

    This shows a much bigger problem in our country though where life saving medical care has been priced out of reach of those who may need it most.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on July 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: donating blood, healthcare, Red Cross,   

    Red Cross facing severe summer shortage 

    Red Cross facing severe summer shortage

    A great many of us will donate blood to the American Red Cross after a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy or a crime of great tragedy like the Orlando massacre. Instead of waiting for an event like that to occur before donating we should be donating now. Right now the American Red Cross is facing a severe shortage of blood donations. Most of the shortage is due to it being summer here in America and with schools out and families on vacations not many people are thinking about blood donation nor are many blood drives being organized.

    If you think about it, summertime is great time to donate blood. Summertime always has the potential to bring about the most widespread natural disasters in our country, like hurricanes. Rising temperatures can also lead to massive brush and forest fires and heavy rains have already brought major flooding to the country. Sadly, our country is also susceptible to tragedies like those that happened recently on Orlando and Dallas. While I’m sure the Red Cross is grateful for the donations received in the wake of events like this, wouldn’t it be better if they had enough blood on hand before these events take place?

    Please visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/ today ro find a donation site near you.

  • Geebo 10:37 am on June 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , healthcare, mental health, suicide prevention   

    Are Facebook’s new suicide prevention tools susceptible to abuse? 

    Are Facebook's new suicide prevention tools susceptible to abuse?

    Recently, Facebook announced that they will be adding new suicide prevention tools to the ever burgeoning social network. Some of these tools will include being able to flag a friend’s post if you think they may be in danger of harming themselves. According to Tech Crunch this could result in a number of options…

    Facebook gives them several options. For example, a list of resources, including numbers for suicide prevention organizations, can be shared anonymously, or a message of support can be sent (Facebook suggests wording).

    The post may also be reviewed by Facebook’s global community operations team, which may then “reach out to this person with information that might be helpful to them,”

    However, with this being the internet every tool that’s designed to help can also be used to hurt, or as the saying goes ‘this is why we can’t have nice things.’ While Facebook should be applauded for adding this feature there is also a potential for abuse, especially when it comes to younger users who may be cyberbullied.

    It’s almost inevitable that group of trolls or bullies will hammer someone’s Facebook posts with this ‘suicide flag’, for lack of a better term, as either a threatening message (e.g., the ‘kill yourself’ type of harassment) or just as a way to interfere with their Facebook experience.

    Mental health is still a tricky topic even in today’s society and is still somewhat stigmatized. In that case Facebook should be commended for helping to try to bring the topic to the forefront however, they need to be careful that this feature isn’t used to even further stigmatize though who may be in need of mental healthcare by allowing this new tool of theirs to be abused.

    Engadget is reporting that Facebook does have a team in place to monitor for potential abuse. Hopefully they’ll be able to curtail abuse so resources for those who need it can be effectively put to use.

  • Geebo 10:22 am on May 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: healthcare,   

    Healthcare coverage that leaves you feeling sick 

    Healthcare coverage that leaves you feeling sick

    The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was designed to bring affordable healthcare coverage to US citizens who previously couldn’t afford it. Even with Obamacare there are still a vast number of Americans who can’t afford health coverage. Many of those desperate for some kind of coverage may respond to one of the many ads for discount healthcare coverage that they may have found online, on TV, or even on a roadside sign that promises great benefits at a cut-rate price. As is the norm in many of these cases, the promises of great coverage for your family go largely unfulfilled.

    A lot of these healthcare plans aren’t insurance but they’re what’s called discount programs. In some cases these programs make a deal with a local or national PPO network and will allow you to see doctors at the same discounted rate that fully insured people get however the plan doesn’t actually pay any money on your behalf to your doctor. You only get a discount and still have to pay the majority of your bill to the doctor’s office. Many healthcare professionals may be in-network with the PPO plan named on the discount card but a great number of them won’t even accept any patients using only a discount plan. That’s not even mentioning that these discount plans don’t fulfill the Individual Mandate requirements of Obamacare that say those that don’t have sufficient health coverage will be fined by the government.

    Here’s a tip on how not to be fooled by these programs if you’re looking for real healthcare coverage. There’s one word you need to keep an eye out for and that word is ‘insurance’. If the ad does not use the word insurance then it isn’t healthcare coverage that you need. Back in the days when fax machines were more prevalent than the internet these plans would spam fax machines with these same promises but in very small print at the bottom, sometimes blurred out by poor quality faxes, would be a disclaimer that said ‘This is not insurance.’

    While these ads may use words that sound like they may be insurance, unless they use the actual word they’re not.

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

    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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