pharmaceuticals

Medicare Costs Going Up In 2009, So Be Ready To Compare Plans

Medicare Costs Going Up In 2009, So Be Ready To Compare Plans

If there’s one group of Americans who don’t carry their weight and need to pay more money to the healthcare industry, it’s those layabout senior citizens! That’s why their Medicare drug premiums are increasing by an average of 31% for the 10 most popular plans beginning in 2009. If you were with Humana, formerly the cheapest Medicare drug plan you could get (its premium was $9.51 in 2006), you can expect to pay $40.83 per month in 2009, an increase of 60% over this year’s rate. As you would expect, Humana is no longer the cheapest option—so it may be time to shop around for a new plan.

Update: 41 46 Million Americans Drink Pharmaceutical Waste

Update: 41 46 Million Americans Drink Pharmaceutical Waste

If you weren’t one of the 41 million Americans drinking water contaminated with sex hormones and pharmaceutical waste, welcome to the club! Testing prompted by the AP’s damning investigation has revealed that another five million people, including residents of Reno, Colorado Springs, and Chicago, now sip the potentially dangerous pharmaceutical soup.

These Old Ads Remind You To Drug Children And The Elderly

These Old Ads Remind You To Drug Children And The Elderly

Sometimes gentleness is required of your toddler. Sometimes ill-tempered old folks get too agitated and threaten you with canes. That’s why sometimes the best solution is a good old fashioned thorazine pill, or a barbiturate elixir. Weirdomatic has a collection of bizarre ads like these from the past. Our favorite, aside from the drug ads, is the one showing Olympian speed skater Jack Shea taking a break from his skating to enjoy the rejuvenating effects of a Camel cigarette. So that’s how Phelps did it.

20 Drugs That Probably Won't Kill You, But Potentially Could, Maybe

20 Drugs That Probably Won't Kill You, But Potentially Could, Maybe

Don’t freak out or anything, but the FDA is going to publish a list of medicines that could kill you. Or not. They’re not really sure. Still, there is going to be a list, and if it shows a medicine that you’re taking, then, um, yeah, sorry to hear that…

Glaxo Buys Aging Retardation Drug Company

Glaxo Buys Aging Retardation Drug Company

GlaxoSmithKline is buying a U.S. biotechnology company that is researching resveratrol, the chemical compound found in red wine that may retard the aging process. The CEO of the company says that “drugs that mimic resveratrol, by activating enzymes called sirtuins, could ‘treat in a safe, natural new way, many of the major killers of western society.'” We can’t wait to see the commercials that GSK puts out for this one.

Pre-Emption Doctrine Would Make FDA Responsible For All Drug Problems, Shield Big Pharma From Lawsuits

Pre-Emption Doctrine Would Make FDA Responsible For All Drug Problems, Shield Big Pharma From Lawsuits

Johnson & Johnson is waiting to hear whether or not a judge in Ohio will allow any lawsuits over its Ortho birth control patch to move forward, and the New York Times says lawyers on both sides think there’s a good chance he may find in the company’s favor based on the doctrine of pre-emption. The argument goes that it’s the FDA’s responsibility to monitor the safety and labeling of drugs that go to market, and therefore if something goes wrong, it’s the agency’s fault and not the pharmaceutical company’s.

Walgreens Fills High Blood Pressure Prescription With Generic Allergy Pills

Walgreens Fills High Blood Pressure Prescription With Generic Allergy Pills

Tina claims that last December she had her prescription filled at a Dallas Walgreens store, and was surprised to see that the pills had changed.

11 Drug Companies Agree To Pay $125 Million For Fixing Prices

11 Drug Companies Agree To Pay $125 Million For Fixing Prices

The Prescription Access Litigation (PAL) coalition filed suit against 11 drug companies in 2002 for artificially inflating the average wholesale price, or AWP, of certain drugs, including ones used to treat serious illnesses such as cancer and HIV. This week, PAL announced that the companies have agreed to pay $125 million to settle—82.5% of the amount will be used to compensate third-party payor’s claims, and the remaining 17.5% will be used for consumer claims. Here’s a list of the drugs involved, and after the jump is a quick guide to see whether you’ll qualify for a claim, pending the judge’s approval of the settlement.

Health Group Asks Congress To Create National Drug Data Resource

Health Group Asks Congress To Create National Drug Data Resource

The U.S. Institute of Medicine called on Congress today to “establish a single national resource of health information.” The resource would collect all available data on every drug in the marketplace, and be available to consumers to educate themselves about any and all possible treatments in order to make better-informed decisions with their doctors.

https://consumerist.com/2008/01/17/a-clinical-trial-of/

A clinical trial of Zetia, a popularly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug, “failed to show that the drug has any medical benefits.” In fact, fatty plaques grew almost twice as fast in patients who took Zetia along with Zocor in a combo product called Vytorin. However, “patients who are taking Vytorin or Zetia should talk to their doctors if they are concerned and not discontinue taking the medicines on their own.” [New York Times]

Former Amgen Sales Reps Say They Were Encouraged To Illegally Access Patient Records

Former Amgen Sales Reps Say They Were Encouraged To Illegally Access Patient Records

Two former sales reps for the pharmaceutical company Amgen are suing “for lost wages and other compensation after refusing to participate in improper promotion of the company’s blockbuster psoriasis drug Enbrel.” They claim that Amgen encouraged them to “illegally access patient records to induce insurance carriers to pay for the pricey drug,” according to their attorney. Amgen promptly responded that the suits were without merit, and then handed out blister packets of popular drugs, branded desk calendars, and free t-shirts, so everything’s cool.

Drug Companies Spend Almost $60 Billion On Marketing, $30 Billion On Research. What?

It’s okay for drug companies to spend oodles on advertising because they spend even more making sure their drugs are safe and effective, right? Not so much, according to a study in PLOS Medicine.

https://consumerist.com/2007/12/28/bayer-is-recalling-certain/

Bayer is recalling certain diabetes test strips because they tend to over-report blood glucose level readings by 5 to 17 percent. Affected lots begin with WK7 and then either a D, E, F or G. All other lot numbers are fine and can be used. More information.

FDA Issues New Warnings Over Misuse Of Duragesic Patch

FDA Issues New Warnings Over Misuse Of Duragesic Patch

The FDA said today that a small number of preventable cases of accidental death have occurred since their first Duragesic warning in 2005, prompting them to ask Johnson & Johnson and the makers of a generic version to add new warnings. “Despite a July 2005 warning, the Food and Drug Administration ‘has continued to receive reports of deaths and life-threatening side effects after doctors have inappropriately prescribed the patch or patients have incorrectly used it,’ the agency said.”

Tamiflu And Relenza Treat Flu, But Might Make You Crazy

Tamiflu And Relenza Treat Flu, But Might Make You Crazy

This week, an FDA advisory panel will review a recommendation to put a warning on flu drugs Tamiflu and Relenza that says there have been “psychiatric events observed in some patients.” The companies who make the drugs have both responded that they’ve found no causal link between their drugs and “psychiatric events.”

Zocor May Cause Sleep Problems In Patients

Zocor May Cause Sleep Problems In Patients

A new study from the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine suggests that simvastatin, also known as the cholesterol-lowering drug Zocor, may interfere with sleep patterns: “people who took the statin drug Zocor or simvastatin found they had significantly worse sleep quality compared with people who took Pravachol or pravastatin, another cholesterol-lowering drug.” Simvastatin is fat soluble, which means it can more easily penetrate cell membranes and mess with brain chemistry.

"Hide Your Old Pills In Poop"

"Hide Your Old Pills In Poop"

The Reuters headline is so perfect, we can’t improve upon it. Hide your old pills in poop, folks, before you discard them, especially ones that are frequently abused like the painkillers oxycodone, morphine, and fentanyl, and the stimulant methylphenidate.

Can't Sleep? Try Behavioral Changes Before Sleeping Pills

Can't Sleep? Try Behavioral Changes Before Sleeping Pills

The health blog at the New York Times points out that there are all sorts of behavioral changes you can adopt to fight insomnia that have been proven to work—they just sound so ordinary and common that people either don’t think they’re effective or assume pills will work better.