(PepOmint)

If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, you may first turn to melatonin, a synthetic version of the hormone that regulates our sleep/wake cycles. It might seem like a mild and natural alternative to sleeping pills, but there are potential problems. The hormone can interact with other medications and have side effects like next-day grogginess, and since it’s regulated as a supplement, its potency may vary. You also may need a much lower dose than what’s in the bottle: as little as .1 mg works for some people. [Consumer Reports]

(poopoorama)

What You Need To Know Before You Take A Sleeping Pill

When you’re having a hard time getting a good night’s sleep, you might reach for the pill bottle for a simple, chemical solution. And you’re not alone — according to a new survey from our colleagues at Consumer Reports, more than one-third of adults who complained of sleep problems at least once per week said they had used an over-the-counter or prescription sleep drug in the previous year. [More]

FDA Recalls Several Weight Loss Supplements Containing Unsafe Ingredients

FDA Recalls Several Weight Loss Supplements Containing Unsafe Ingredients

Earlier this year, the owner of a dietary supplement company was sentenced to 30 months in prison for selling “all natural” products that secretly contained harmful active ingredients that shouldn’t even be available to U.S. consumers. Today, the FDA announced recalls for more than a dozen additional products containing these same, unsafe ingredients. [More]

(KJRH)

Maintenance Workers Find 26.2 Pounds Of Cocaine Stashed On American Airlines Plane

If you left a package containing a bunch of bricks of cocaine on an American Airlines jet, law enforcement in Tulsa, OK would like to speak with you. [More]

Express Scripts To Offer $1 Version Of Drug That Skyrocketed To $750/Pill Overnight

Express Scripts To Offer $1 Version Of Drug That Skyrocketed To $750/Pill Overnight

Earlier this year, a company called Turing Pharmaceuticals purchased the rights to Daraprim (pyrimethamine), an anti-parasitic used to treat malaria and toxoplasmosis, that had sold for as little as $1/tablet until not too long ago. Overnight, the price of Daraprim skyrocketed to around $750/pill, resulting in angry doctors, and a Senate investigation. Today, pharmacy benefits giant Express Scripts announced a partnership that will introduce a version of pyrimethamine at the pre-Turing price. [More]

Senate Investigating Drug Companies Behind Huge Overnight Price Hikes

Senate Investigating Drug Companies Behind Huge Overnight Price Hikes

A handful of pharmaceutical investors have been snapping up the rights to previously affordable prescription drugs, only to immediately raise prices to the point where patients now pay hundreds of dollars for a single pill — resulting in huge additional costs for consumers, insurers, and healthcare providers. Not only has this practice drawn the ire of the medical community, it’s also resulted in a Senate committee investigation. [More]

Steven Depolo

Pharma Biggie Hit With $125M Penalty For Illegal Kickbacks To Doctors, Falsified Insurance Forms

A subsidiary of multibillion-dollar international pharmaceuticals company Allergan has agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge of healthcare fraud and pay $125 million to close the books on criminal and civil liability claims tied to the subsidiary’s illegal marketing activities for seven different name-brand prescription drugs. [More]

Just a few of the Floyd products that failed to mention they included a prescription weight-loss med that was pulled from the market in 2010, or an ingredient in laxatives that hasn't been used since the FDA declared it unsafe in 1999.

Supplement Company Owner Gets 30 Months In Prison For Selling Diet Pills Containing Unsafe Ingredients

One slogan used by the folks at now-defunct Floyd Nutrition on weight-loss “supplements” like ZXT Bee Pollen and ZXT Gold Infinity was “Offering the gift of health,” but a more accurate statement might have been “Offering the secret gift of drugs that were pulled from the market years ago for potential health risks,” or rather, “Offering products that will land this company’s founder in federal prison for two-and-a-half years.” [More]

(U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Traveler Accused Of Smuggling 11 Pounds Of Liquid Cocaine In Olive Oil, Vinegar Bottles

Perhaps you have a secret ingredient for adding a little kick to your salad dressing, but if it’s cocaine, law enforcement officials aren’t going to let you keep it: U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport say a passenger arrived with 11 pounds of liquid cocaine packed inside oil and vinegar bottles in his luggage. [More]

The makers of Doryx are currently being sued by a company that claims last-minute tweaks to the acne medication have delayed the availability of a generic equivalent.

How Drug Companies Use “Product Hopping” To Fight Off Affordable Generic Drugs

You’re probably used to the idea of your doctor prescribing you a brand-name drug and your pharmacist automatically substituting a lower-cost generic equivalent that saves you, the drugstore, and your insurer money. But there’s practice known in the industry as “product hopping” that brand-name drug makers can use to repeatedly delay generic versions from reaching consumers. [More]

Doctors Not Happy After Drug Goes From $13.50/Tablet To $750 Overnight

Doctors Not Happy After Drug Goes From $13.50/Tablet To $750 Overnight

Gripe as we might, consumers understand that price increases do happen. What’s not as easily understood is how the price for something can go from $13.50 one day to $750 the next — especially when it’s a generic drug used to save lives. [More]

Kim Kardashian issued a corrected endorsement for morning sickness pill after the FDA took issue with a first post's lack of acknowledgement of associated safety risks.

After FDA Warning, Kim Kardashian Posts Corrected Endorsement Of Morning Sickness Pill

Weeks after federal regulators took issue with drug company Duchesnay for allowing mom-to-be Kim Kardashian to tout the benefits of its morning sickness pill on social media without properly disclosing the drug’s associated risk and limitations, the reality star posted updated endorsements, complete with acknowledgement of the pill’s side effects. [More]

(Renee Rendler-Kaplan)

Customs Officials In Miami Keep Finding Cocaine, Heroin Hidden In Flower Shipments

Stopping to smell the roses takes on a whole new meaning down in Miami, where federal officials say they’ve found several shipments of flowers going through the airport with cocaine and heroin hidden in them.

[More]

FDA To Hold Public Meeting, Seek Comments On Antibiotic Overuse In Farm Animals

FDA To Hold Public Meeting, Seek Comments On Antibiotic Overuse In Farm Animals

For decades, livestock farmers inadvertently encouraged the development of drug-resistant bacteria by providing a continuous stream of medically unnecessary antibiotics to their cows, pigs, and chickens — primarily to end up with bigger animals — while the Food and Drug Administration kept the issue on the back-burner. Meanwhile, antibiotic-resistant pathogens sicken more than two million people in the U.S. each year, resulting in at least 23,000 deaths. Now that everyone from consumers to lawmakers to public health advocates to McDonald’s and even Walmart are starting to care about the topic, the FDA is starting to listen. [More]

(Curtis Perry)

FDA Approves Addyi, Which Is Absolutely Not Viagra For Women

Late yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug flibanserin, which will hit the market under the brand name Addyi. You’ll see a lot of headlines and smirking news anchors using the phrase “Viagra for women” when talking about the drug, but that’s only correct in one sense. This drug wouldn’t be for sale to patients at all if it weren’t for the success of Viagra as a drug marketed directly to consumers. [More]

Until May 2015, Par's generic form of Kapvay (clonidine hydrochloride) was the only generic version available in the U.S., even though Concordia also had the rights to market a competing generic.

Drug Companies Agreed To Not Compete, Resulting In High Price For Generic Medication

Imagine that Bob and Mary are the only two kids in town allowed to sell lemonade. They could try to compete against each other, potentially resulting in lower prices, improved juice, or better service… or Mary could say to Bob, “How’s about you pay me some money so I don’t exercise my option to sell lemonade?” That means the price for lemonade is whatever Bob says it is, and he’s encouraged to keep it high because he’s paying some of that money out to Mary. Now imagine this isn’t about lemonade, but about prescription drugs. [More]

Court Shuts Down Iowa Supplement Company Distribution Over Misbranding, Unfounded Safety Promises

Court Shuts Down Iowa Supplement Company Distribution Over Misbranding, Unfounded Safety Promises

There are about 200 fewer adulterated dietary supplements on the market today after a district court ordered an Iowa company and its owners to stop production of products over allegations the company sold potentially unsafe dietary supplements and falsely advertised them as treatments for diseases ranging from colds to cancer. [More]

(Adam Gerard)

Prescription Price Sticker Shock Is Now A Common Consumer Ailment

Maybe this has happened to you: you’re at the pharmacy, picking up a refill of a prescription that you or a family member have been taking for a long time. It’s a routine errand until you get sticker shock: the copay has suddenly shot up. You didn’t change insurance, it’s still the same year, and the drug is the same: how can a price change so dramatically so quickly? [More]