Archive for November, 2017

Pharmaceutical Waste Is Now A Congressional Issue

Posted by on November 27th, 2017

Recently we wrote about a trend in the pharmaceutical industry where waste is encouraged. Makers of eye drops regularly make each drop larger than needed. The industry says it’s done that way to include a margin of error, but the amount of extra fluid in each drop is so excessive it’s beyond a margin of error. This isn’t a problem just with eye drops it’s a problem with other drugs too. It has been pointed out that cancer drugs and single use drug vials are also sources of waste as well. Consumers have been aware of this waste for years, however now Congress has started to take notice too.

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have introduced a bill that would ask the FDA and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to come up with a plan to reduce medication waste with a view to saving millions of dollars. Congressional attention has been drawn in a very significant way towards to the issue of prescription drugs and their costs. It’s about time too. For too long Congress, despite being the body charged with paying for huge amounts of prescription drugs each year, has looked the other way. It has chosen to overlook the prescription drug price problem and offer no solutions; all this despite the fact that millions of Americans have struggled for years to pay for prescription drugs. It finally seems the outcry of millions of Americans, as well as several drug pricing PR disasters, have finally drawn congress’ attention to the issue for the long-term.

Granted congressional attention, hearings and scolding hasn’t done a thing to lower prescription drug prices so far. However regulatory action forcing drug companies to reconsider their “margins of error” may help reduce costs for those using expensive eye drops, cancer drugs and other items. This is where Canada Drugs can help out. While we have no control over how manufacturers make their products, our low prices can help make buying them a bit less stressful.

Medicare Not Providing Enough Drug Coverage? Consider Canada Drugs

Posted by on November 24th, 2017

Along with Thanksgiving and getting ready for Christmas, it is Medicare renewal time. For those of you on Medicare this is an opportunity to assess whether your current plan is meeting your needs. If your copays are really high or your medications aren’t being covered, it’s a good idea to rethink the plan you have. Medicare has a website to help you find a plan that will work for you.  For those of you who are healthy and don’t take any drugs, it may not be a big deal which plan you have; you will likely choose the cheapest one you can find. However for those of you with health issues and prescription drug needs choosing the cheapest option may end up costing you a lot more in the long run. Don’t forget about the donut hole. While it’s expected to be closed by 2020, it still exists. Plus the constant arguing over the ACA may just derail that too. Who knows?

What we do know is that even with Medicare coverage many seniors still require some extra help in paying for or finding prescription drugs. That’s where we can help. Canada Drugs carries a wide range of prescription drugs at prices that are often significantly less than the US retail price. Many Medicare patients use our services; seniors are our largest consumer demographic. We can often provide medications not available on formularies in health plans, medications that are approved in Canada and Europe, but not available in the US, and provide these products at lower prices too. Medicare is an important program but you should take the old adage “buyer beware” to heart when selecting a Medicare plan.

As always, Canada Drugs is here to help you fill in the gap. Whether that’s a gap in coverage, a particular drug that isn’t covered and is very expensive to buy directly or the donut hole, we’re here to help you get the medication you need at a price that is affordable. Navigating the Medicare maze can be very difficult, but using Canada Drugs isn’t.

FDA Certifies Other Countries To Do Drug Maker Evaluations

Posted by on November 22nd, 2017

The FDA recently announced that it will rely on inspection information from drug regulators in 9 other developed countries to determine if drug manufacturers in those countries are operating up to standard. This allows the FDA to free up their inspectors to work in high risk areas like India and China. The countries the FDA will rely more on are Austria, Croatia, France, Italy, Malta, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. This stems from an agreement for greater interagency cooperation between US government agencies and EU agencies. The FDA expects to eventually expand this to all 28 member states of the EU; the EU has already certified the FDA to conduct inspections for it of US drug manufacturer sites.

On the face of it, this is a good deal for the FDA. It saves them time and travel expenses and encourages greater cooperation with equivalent agencies in other developed nations. This may lead to more common regulations and make the prescription drug supply chain safer and more efficient. But it also raises the question, if the FDA can trust these agencies to do inspections on drug manufacturer facilities why can’t it trust the drugs certified by those agencies and allow Americans to import prescription drugs for personal use from outside the US?

That’s an important question. The FDA is moving to certifying several EU member countries to conduct inspections of drug making facilities on its behalf. But even with this acknowledgement that these agencies have the expertise equal to FDA, the FDA still maintains that drugs imported by people for personal use from these countries are unsafe. It’s one of those legal fictions that can cause frustration in the minds of reasonable regular people.  For the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Americans who made use of personal importation over the past 20 or more years, ordering prescription drugs from Canada or other western nations has saved them a lot of money and helped keep them healthy.

This is just another part of the saga where regulators and industry dance around the truth. The truth is that regulations and regulators in other developed countries have the equivalent standards of the FDA and do work that is as good as the FDA. If this is true, the drugs they produce should be considered safe too. But it is here that they stop. It isn’t because they’re concerned about safety, they’re obviously not. It’s about money and protecting pharma’s substantial revenues.

Evergreening Is Addictive: The Pharma Tactic Not The Trees

Posted by on November 20th, 2017

In the pharmaceutical industry a process called evergreening is commonly used to repair and rebuild the patent walls around various prescription drugs. Essentially, drug companies find new uses or tweak the drug in a certain way that they can claim it’s sufficiently innovative to merit a new patent. When the patent is granted generic competitors are barred from marketing their products for a period that could be as long as 20 years.

To give you an idea of the scope of this problem, between the years 2005 and 2015 74% of the new drugs patents in FDA records were not new drugs just coming onto the market, but existing drugs. The problem is growing. As the linked report suggests, companies can become addicted to evergreening with more than 80% of companies who do it with one drug returning with others. Why is it so addictive? The reason is monetary. Drugs cost a lot to develop and push through the approval process. Companies who develop blockbuster drugs that are really profitable will want to protect that profit at all costs. There’s never a guarantee that the next drug will be a blockbuster or as profitable as your current one. Therefore companies will seek to protect them at all costs and make as much money as possible. It’s cheaper to evergreen existing drugs than it is to develop new ones.

Evergreening is an anti-competitive practice. It is not intended or designed to help patients by presenting new uses for old drugs but to protect their patents and bottom lines. If big pharma was interested in putting patients first, they would stop evergreening and permit generic competition and bring down prices more quickly. They would stop overpricing their drugs and make them affordable for everyone, and bring down costs for everyone from insurance companies and government to private citizens. But they’re not doing that. It’s all about money and the bottom line.

What Do You Expect When You Walk Into A Pharmacy?

Posted by on November 17th, 2017

When you go to the pharmacy, the last thing you want to be blindsided with is a big price tag. For many people this is what happens. They go to the doctor get a prescription for a particular medication. Then they go to the pharmacy only to find that the price of the drug they have to pay is huge. What’s more, the pharmacist cannot tell the person buying the prescription drugs that a lower price might be available if they pay cash. This is something pharmacists are barred from doing by the PBMs and insurance companies they contract with. The only loophole is if the patient asks their pharmacist directly if there is a better price available. The pharmacist can then tell the patient if paying cash instead of using insurance would be cheaper.

The pharmaceutical industry has it all wrapped up in a neat package. Big pharma sets arbitrary prices, unrelated to market conditions. They negotiate with health insurers and PBMs who charge premiums and fees for their services and receive undisclosed discounts on drugs from manufacturers. They are the people who make money. The rest of us have to pay up. We have to pay premiums, co-pays and co-insurance. And what’s more, the contracts between the players in the prescription drug supply chain keep secrecy at the forefront.

None of the actors know exactly who’s paying who for what, they just know they’ll get paid and make money. The secrecy, as discussed earlier, goes down to the pharmacy level. The pharmacist, the only medical professional in the whole chain, is tasked with actually collecting money from the all-too-often cash strapped patient. They aren’t allowed to tell even low income individuals about potentially lower prices unless they’re directly asked. Otherwise they could be sued. For patients trying to get the best price having a big legal obstacle in their way is no help at all.

By shopping with Canada Drugs you can avoid pharma’s secret pricing schemes and strategies and get the best price right away. No need to go through your insurance company. There’s no need to worry about a PBM or other agreement standing in your way of better prices. We offer the best price we can on every product. Take some time and browse our large product offering and see if we can save you money on your prescription drugs. Visit our website or call us today at 1-800-226-3784.