health care

Steven Depolo

How Well Do You Know The Real Names Of The Drugs You Take?

Ads for prescription and over-the-counter drugs are everywhere, so much so that we’ve become accustomed to hearing and seeing the brand name of a medication immediately followed by a parenthetical containing the generic name [ex: Valtrex (valacyclovir)], but how well have we been paying attention to these ads? Are we now so savvy that we immediately know that Chantix is the trade name for varenicline, or have we become so inured to these ads that we aren’t paying any attention? [More]

Ben Schumin

FDA Issues Warning That Misuse, Abuse Of Imodium Can Cause Heart Issues

Following reports that some opioid addicts are taking potentially lethal doses of over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medication, the Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about the dangers of abuse and misuse of these seemingly innocuous products. [More]

‘Biggest Loser’ Doctor Sues Former Contestant, New York Post Over Scandalous Story

‘Biggest Loser’ Doctor Sues Former Contestant, New York Post Over Scandalous Story

About two weeks ago, several former contestants on NBC weight-loss competition The Biggest Loser spoke to the NY Post, publicly accusing trainers, show staff, and the show’s resident physician, Dr. Robert Huizenga of a variety of questionable behaviors. Now “Dr. H” is firing back with a lawsuit against both the Post and one of the former “losers.” [More]

In Wake Of Superbug Scare, Lawmakers Renew Push For New Antibiotics

In Wake Of Superbug Scare, Lawmakers Renew Push For New Antibiotics

Last week, military scientists confirmed the discovery of a patient in Pennsylvania infected with a bacteria that was not only resistant to many traditional antibiotics, but also contained a gene (MCR-1) making it resistant to colistin, an antibiotic of last resort used when all others are ineffective. In response, Senators are making a renewed push on bipartisan legislation intended to speed up the approval of new antibiotics. [More]

Nonprofit Hospitals Suing Poor Patients Without Telling Them They Qualify For Reduced Or Free Care

Nonprofit Hospitals Suing Poor Patients Without Telling Them They Qualify For Reduced Or Free Care

Given that nonprofit hospitals are tax-exempt, the general view is that their primary focus should be on providing care for those who need it rather than making using the court system to make those patients pay up. Almost all of these hospitals have programs to reduce bills for people living below or near the poverty line, but some are suing poor patients without ever telling them about these options. [More]

frankieleon

Drug Companies Subpoenaed Over Questionable Charity Connections

Whenever there is a report of a drug company jacking up the price of a prescription medication, the pharma industry is often quick to point out that there are non-profit charities ready and willing to help patients get these drugs at a more affordable rate. However, those charities may have very close ties to the drug maker that could not only help the company turn a profit, but avoid some tax obligations. In recent months, several large pharmaceutical companies have been subpoenaed as part of an ongoing federal investigation into these connections. [More]

frankieleon

CDC Director: Drug-Resistant Superbug Means “Medicine Cabinet Is Empty”

You know that scene in action movies where the hero has fired every bullet, thrown every piece of throwable furniture, set off every explosive, but still the bad guy lurches forward? At that point, there’s nothing left for the hero to do but run and pray. After the recent discovery in the U.S. of a bacteria that is resistant to a vital last-resort antibiotic, some scientists believe we’re inching dangerously close to that run-and-pray moment in the world of medicine. [More]

In Denial About America’s Opioid Painkiller Problem? This Map Might Change Your Mind

In Denial About America’s Opioid Painkiller Problem? This Map Might Change Your Mind

If you think the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is being alarmist by urging primary care physicians to stop prescribing so many opioid painkillers, or that the fact that 10% of doctors are writing more than 50% of the prescriptions for opioids is not a concrete indicator of a problem, then perhaps this map of overdose deaths in the U.S. will help to drive the point home. [More]

Audrey Brevet

Government Warns Eye Doctors: Provide Prescriptions After Eye Exams Or Else

It’s really easy to find eyeglass stores that also offer eye exams. You get your eyes checked, pick out the frames, and get the final product all from the same place, so you might not notice that you didn’t get a copy of your prescription after the exam. That’s against the law, and one federal agency is reminding eye doctors of the costly penalty for failing to provide prescriptions. [More]

Ben Schumin

Some Opioid Addicts Are Risking Their Lives By Taking Large Amounts Of Imodium

The use of opioid painkillers can result in constipation, so the last drug you might expect to see an opioid addict consume is the over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medication Imodium. What you might not know is that loperamide, the active ingredient in Imodium and its store-brand knock-offs, is itself an opioid — one that must be taken in very high, potentially lethal, doses to achieve any noticeable effects, but one to which a growing number of addicts are turning. [More]

Michael G. Chan

Health Insurers Looking To Pay Less When Drugs Don’t Work As Advertised

If a drug maker says their new prescription medication will reduce cholesterol by a certain percentage, or that it will counter symptoms of some chronic illness, but it doesn’t quite live up to its marketing, should the insurance companies still pay the price they originally agreed to? A growing number of insurers are making deals that tie the price of a drug to its real-world performance. [More]

FBI Investigating Virus That Took Major Hospital Chain Offline

FBI Investigating Virus That Took Major Hospital Chain Offline

Earlier today, healthcare provider MedStar Health, which operates nearly a dozen hospitals in the D.C. area and some 100 clinics, took its network offline after detecting the presence of a computer virus. Now the FBI is investigating. [More]

CharlesWilliams

New Warning Labels Coming To Opioid Painkillers

A week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called on physicians to stop prescribing opioid painkillers when less-problematic therapeutic treatments will do the trick, another federal agency is joining in the effort to alert consumers to the potential risks of using these frequently prescribed medications. [More]

Fujoshi Bijou

Health Care Providers Repeatedly Violate HIPAA, Nothing Happens

You’re probably familiar with HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, a federal law that protects your health information from being shared with anyone who doesn’t need to see it. This includes things like mailing someone the wrong set of test results, shouting information in a pharmacy for everyone to hear, and of course mass breaches of paper or digital data.

[More]

While it had many failings, the Galactic Empire did have an excellent health plan.  (RedandJonny)

Your Health Insurer Could Pay You To Take Your Blood Pressure And Weight (Sort Of)

The kiosks at pharmacies where you can take your blood pressure, pulse, and maybe even weigh yourself aren’t just for killing time while you wait for a prescription. Well, they’re mostly for that, but Walmart will be trying out a new rewards card that compensates customers to visit the checkup kiosks to take a few measurements. [More]

CVS Will Experiment With Selling Glasses And Hearing Aids In Some Stores

CVS Will Experiment With Selling Glasses And Hearing Aids In Some Stores

Would you like to be able to take care of even more of your health care during a visit to CVS? The drugstore chain announced today that it will experiment with adding two new services to its retail stores, piloting hearing aids in some stores and optical clinics in others. The clinics will have audiologists and optometrists on staff respectively. [More]

(Curtis Perry)

Kmart Pays $1.4 Million To Settle Accusations Of Illegal Coupon Acceptance, Prescription Incentives

In most of the country, pharmacies can offer rewards points, coupons, or other inducements to get you to switch prescriptions to them. Not only is this illegal in certain states, it’s also illegal to offer these incentives to customers with health insurance through Medicaid. Kmart has settled allegations from a whistleblower that it did exactly that for customers with Medicaid, and accepted co-pay coupons for brand-name drugs for them. [More]

SCOTUS Ruling Means Millions Of Americans No Longer At Risk To Lose Health Insurance Subsidies

SCOTUS Ruling Means Millions Of Americans No Longer At Risk To Lose Health Insurance Subsidies

The Affordable Care Act scored a major victory today as the Supreme Court upheld provisions allowing the government to provide tax subsidies for consumers who purchased insurance through the program, although their states don’t have an official insurance exchange of their own. [More]