Archive for October, 2016

Testimonial: Quality Medication Improves Lives

Posted by on October 26th, 2016

Testimonial - street sign illustration in front of blue sky with clouds.
Five heart attacks, four heart surgeries, one quadruple bypass, and COPD had left Jerry’s health in a precarious state. “My husband, in the 39 years we’ve been married, has never, never, never, until the last three years, received a good lab report,” his wife Loretta explained. “He’s always had high cholesterol, high this, high that.” A change in Jerry and Loretta’s health insurance causedthem to look for other options for their health care, “our group policy went up to $2000/month with a $5000 deductible per person with no co-pays paid out on pharmacy or doctor visits until you’ve met your $5000 deductible.” They searched other ways to save money and came across Canada Drugs.

After six months of being with Canada Drugs Jerry went for his quarterly blood test and the test came back normal. “The doctor was in shock and said, “Well Jerry, we need to run these again because apparently we’ve got a bad reading,” said Loretta. They did the test again and it came back normal. “The only change Jerry has made has been where we bought our medications from.” Jerry’s health has improved dramatically since he started getting his medications from Canada Drugs. “He still smokes, unfortunately,” says Loretta. But all things considered, “you’re doing a service and you’re doing it right. And I’m just so happy because you have helped extend his life.”

Quality medications are very important, especially for those taking them on an ongoing basis to treat chronic conditions. Loretta has become a big booster for Canada Drugs “…everybody I talk to I tell them, when they start griping about the premiums on their health insurance, they start griping about their medication cost, they start griping that generics are no good, I start singing the praises of Canada Drugs.” she said. “And I don’t know what the difference is, other than the costs are so much better, and my husband’s health is so much better.”

Quality and safety go hand in hand. Canada Drugs takes both very seriously. That is why we only supply our products from the regulated supply chains of Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. These tier 1 countries have rigorous approval processes and this ensures that we only purchase and supply drugs of the highest quality possible.


Drug Discount Program for the Poor Under Attack?

Posted by on October 20th, 2016

Expensive pillsIn 1992 Congress established the 340B drug discount program. The program was designed to provide affordable drugs to the poor, uninsured and under-insured. It works by providing certain hospitals, clinics, and health centers automatic discounts on prescription drugs. These entities provide medications to their patients at discounted prices, even if they’re insured. The 340B discount program has allowed many health organizations provide patients with access to medical care and otherwise inaccessible drugs.

The program is not funded by tax dollars but by the discounts provided by drug companies. Hospitals participating in the 340B program serve twice the number of African American, Hispanics and Native Americans as non-participating hospitals. Further 340B is heavily relied upon by hospitals in rural and under-served areas. Despite the cost saving nature of the program, it is currently under fire in Washington.

Big pharma’s industry lobby groups have been petitioning law makers in Washington to change the eligibility criteria for the program to limit the number of hospitals and patients who can take part in the program. They claim the program is being abused. They accuse hospitals of purchasing drugs at the discounted rate, charging insurers the full amount and pocketing the difference. Further, drug companies claim that hospitals are pursuing wealthier insured clients, paying a heavily discounted rate for prescription drugs and reselling them at full price and making a profit, rather than focusing on providing affordable drugs and medical care to the poor.

For patient advocates however, it is a case of big pharma trying to take down a program that eats into their profits and want to shore up their own profits at the expense of the poor, uninsured and under-insured. If Washington changes the program, it could backfire on the people who need it most. It’s just another war between drug makers, insurers and patient advocacy groups. As always in these debates the least powerful people, the poor, sick, elderly or indigent are set up to lose the most.


High Cost of Pet Drugs

Posted by on October 18th, 2016

Dog vaccinated by veterinarian
High drug prices are not just an issue for humans; they’re a big problem for pets too. Pet healthcare has become more advanced in recent years as the perception of pets has changed from just being animals to family members. The pet medication market is not as big as the human medication market, however it is lucrative. It is expected to be worth about $10 billion by 2018. Veterinary costs totaled $15.4 billion in the United States in 2015. That’s an increase of $6.8 billion since 2005. In all, Americans will spend $62 billion on their pets in 2016 according to the American Pet Products Association, 62 more than 10 years ago. Yet as people invest more money in their pets they are also becoming more aware of the cost of medical care including prescription drugs.

Pet insurance is available but is not widely used. Out of the roughly 150 million pet dogs and cats in the United States, only 1.6 million have any sort of insurance. That’s about 1% of the population. In addition, insurance for pets is not governed under Obamacare. There is no protection against health insurance industry practices like denying a claim based on a pre-existing condition. Further, pet health insurance plans are not required to cover preventative medicine like a plan governed by Obamacare.

The introduction of high deductible insurance plans has meant more Americans are becoming aware of the true cost of prescription drugs and health care. Having to pay out-of-pocket for veterinary care and prescription drugs for pets just reinforces the point that healthcare is extremely expensive.

Many pet medications are the same medications used by humans. In fact, four of the top five medications we sell for pets are also common human medications. They are Flovent, Sporanox, Azopt and Keppra. People buying these medications at local pharmacies for their pets have to pay full retail price; the sticker shock can be profound. For example, the four medications mentioned range from $250 to $700 for a month’s supply at US retail pharmacies according to GoodRx.com. At Canada Drugs these medications can be purchased for between 75%-80% less than local US prices, which is why many people come to us for their pet’s medications in addition to their own.


It’s Flu Season, Time To Get Your Flu Shot

Posted by on October 13th, 2016

Doctor / Nurse holding a syringe give an injection, on white background
It’s flu season and for many people that means it’s time to get their annual flu vaccination. This is especially important for the very young and the elderly. On average about 200,000 people are hospitalized in the United States due to the flu each year. Further, 36,000 flu related deaths are recorded each year. Influenza is often treated as a minor medical event, sort of a more serious cold. But as the statistics above show that it can much more severe.

The Influenza virus is highly adaptive and changes constantly. This is in contrast to varicella-zoster virus (Chicken Pox), poliovirus (Polio), or measles virus (Measles). These viruses do not evolve as quickly as flu, and constant revaccination is not required. The Influenza virus’ ability to change and evolve is the reason why new vaccines must be developed each year. It’s a bit like detective work. Flu surveillance centers around the world monitor the common strains that emerge from year to year. Scientists meet in February each year to select the three or four most common flu strains that will be used to develop vaccines in the Northern Hemisphere.

According to the CDC, vaccination can reduce the risk of getting the flu by 50%-60%. Those with chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, or chronic lung disease are more at risk for hospitalization and complications due to having the flu. Being vaccinated significantly reduces the chances of hospitalization or other complications. If you still get the flu being vaccinated can moderate the symptoms, making it less severe than it otherwise would have been.

Vaccination is critical for those most at risk, the very young, elderly and those with chronic illnesses. The cost of treating the flu is high, hospitalizations and outpatient visits costs $10.4 billion each year. Getting a flu shot will help avoid costly visits to the hospital or doctor’s office and reduces the risk of illness or complications.


Seniors Forced to Use Food Banks to Make Ends Meet

Posted by on October 5th, 2016

Worried Senior Couple Sitting On Sofa Looking At Bills
Retirement is the fabled land of grandkids, family, travel, a paid-for home, and lots of free time to devote to your interests and hobbies. Ideally you’d have a pension and investment income, with social security to provide a little extra cushion. That’s what it should be. Yet all too often, American seniors are finding retirement a time of straitened circumstances and in many cases, poverty. Pensions and retirement incomes are not what they used to be, and as long as interest rates remain at historic lows, they’re unlikely to improve. Social security provides a small cushion, but it’s not enough to live on. Yet for many seniors it’s all they have to rely on. Social Security accounts for 90% or more of income for 25% of married retirees.

An article in the Miami Herald, originally published by The Times News, brought this stark fact to life. The article detailed the plight of seniors who are experiencing food insecurity due to small, often fixed, incomes that just barely, or simply don’t, cover their expenses. Many of the seniors chronicled cannot afford food to last the whole month and rely on soup kitchens, food banks and meal on wheels programs to help them make it. For many of them combining their small income with charitable help is the only way they can live in some dignity. It’s something we’ve heard a lot from many people.

The reasons seniors struggle according to the article are the cost of prescription medications, health care and living expenses. One senior told the reporter she has three or four medications that insurance will not cover and often she doesn’t get them due to cost. There’s something wrong when seniors, the people who built much of what we have, have to live in deprivation and fear of going hungry or losing their homes. Canada Drugs was started to help with at least a part of this problem.

No one should have to go into poverty or have their standard of living adversely affected by the price of prescription drugs. We’ve been privileged to help millions of Americans, many of them seniors, afford their medications when insurance and Medicare let them down. We are all sick of hearing about seniors being forced into poverty because of the greed of big corporations; it’s time to take a stand. You can make your voice heard and stand up for seniors and every other American by writing to congress and telling them to open the personal importation of prescription drugs to all Americans.