Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver looked at sales figures and prices for the blood thinner Plavix after direct-to-consumer advertising started in 2001. What they found was that the campaign was largely ineffective at increasing prescribing rates, but that the price of the drug shot up 12% almost immediately to cover the cost of the marketing campaign. [More]
G.’s young son was recently ill with H1N1, but no pharmacy in the city where he lives had liquid Tamiflu in stock. (Even the federal government released its stockpile not long ago.) He writes that nearly every pharmacy he called turned him down. Then he learned that the liquid can be made from Tamiflu capsules by pharmacists, or even by parents at home. Why didn’t the pharmacy staff, or his doctor, tell him this?
A new report has been published that ranks the quality of health care for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It’s not looking too swell for people who live in the South.
Medtipster is a website that locates nearby sources of discount generic versions of prescription drugs, as well as flu and other immunization shots. You enter the drug (or shot) you’re looking for and your zip code and it spits out a list of nearby pharmacies. Currently they don’t list H1N1 vaccination sources, but they say they’re going to add that info as soon as it becomes available.
Concerned about bacterial contamination, Tylenol is recalling certain children’s liquid medication products manufactured during a certain period in 2008. While the risk of infection is low when the medicines are ingested, still: eww, bacteria.
I suppose we can’t expect little kids to tell the difference, huh? The University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital and the Finger Lakes Regional Poison & Drug Information Center created this chart to help you grown-ups test your ability to identify delicious candies vs pharmaceuticals. It must have been sort of fun to find ones that matched.
We’re not sure if this is the start of a trend or just some very creative cost-cutting by a few companies, but Business Insurance notes that some self-insured firms are now sending their employees to other states to save money on medical procedures.
If you have to take meds, you know that one of the big issues is watching out for potential drug interactions—the last thing you want is to pass out at the supermarket from uncontrollable flatulence and a sudden onset of glaucoma. Consumer Reports has developed My Medication Tracker, a free desktop app that lets you privately keep a record of your medication history (and related costs), as well as watch out for potential interactions.
Healthcare Blue Book, a new for-profit website, allows prospective patients to find “fair prices” on surgery, hospital stays, doctor visits, and medical procedures. The audience here is people who either don’t have insurance, have a high deductible, or are considering medical treatments that their insurer won’t cover.
CVS pharmacies apparently don’t need consent to enroll customers in ReadyFill, a program that signs customers up for the maximum allowable number of prescription refills and then robocalls them when their drugs are ready. According to a veteran pharmacist, the automatic enrollments began after CVS’ corporate office set specific performance targets that would affect bonuses for managers and pharmacists. Inside, the pharmacist tells us what ReadyFill is, how it works, and how to escape those annoying robocalls…
Now, you know what they say about green M&Ms. That isn’t true. But have you heard what they say about blue M&Ms? That the dye they contain can help the body to repair damage from spinal cord injuries? That one’s true. Oh, and the dye also turns rodents blue.
A company called Help Remedies is offering basic drugs and first aid supplies with simple explanations. Sounds good, provided they remain focused on simple maladies.
Bad news for Dr. Greg House and other, non-fictional chronic pain patients. The FDA advisory panel that met yesterday about the effects of excessive doses of acetaminophen made another recommendation to the FDA—to take popular painkillers Vicodin and Percocet (and their generic versions) off the market because of the effect both drugs can have on the liver when taken for extended periods. The FDA will most likely follow this recommendation.
Look, we know this recession is tough and all, but you’ve gotta lay off the NyQuil and Theraflu or the FDA will stuff them behind a counter, ok? Seriously, an advisory panel is meeting today, and already voted to reduce the maximum daily dose of Tylenol and other painkillers. They might even slap scary “black box” warnings on all over-the-counter painkillers to dissuade you acetaminophen addicts from overdosing.
My mom would like his advice.
Newfangled doesn’t necessarily mean that much better, especially when it comes to taking medicine. Getting prescribed the latest and greatest pill could mean you’re paying more when there’s a perfectly good drug out there that can do the same job, minus the jacked-up new drug patent cost. Vanguard says:
Chronic insomnia is one of those life-altering problems that seems minor at first, but builds up over time until it’s negatively affecting everything in your life. The New York Times has a new article up about cost effective ways to treat it, including generic Ambien (so you can have generic sleep-sex, we guess). The treatment that seems to show the most promise is cognitive behavioral therapy, or C.B.T. Sessions cost between $100-150 each, but if your insurance won’t help, there’s an online self-guided version of C.B.T. for $25.