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Drug Price Inflation Puts Pressure On Consumers

Posted by on January 10th, 2018

Annual pharmaceutical hikes are something we expect and the year 2018 is looking to be no different. Drug prices are expected to climb at least 8% in 2018. That’s well in excess of the rate of inflation. The inflation rate is expected to be 2.38%. Seniors won’t get much help either. Social Security will likely see a cost of living increase of a mere 2%. This is nothing new. Incomes can’t keep up with the price of pharmaceuticals.

Let’s be clear. Big pharma is not suffering financially. They aren’t struggling to keep the doors open and the lights on. This is about corporate greed. They know you need their products and they’re willing to bet you’ll pay up rather than go without. They also know insurance companies will be under major pressure to cover drugs, no matter how much their prices increase.

Unfortunately for consumers there’s not a lot that can be done about it. Unlike other sectors like cell phones or automobiles where there are lots of competing products and companies, prescription drugs is a relatively closed sector. There’s not a ton of competition; it really depends on the specific drug and whether it is on or off patent. Yet even generics aren’t guaranteed anymore to be a major savings over brand name.

Hopefully your insurer won’t pass along these increased costs to you. But if they do, and they very well might, you should consider Canada Drugs. We’ve helped many people save 30-90% off the cost of their prescription drugs. Call us today and we may be able to help you save money on your pharmaceutical needs.


Patient Assistance Programs Help Pharma Raise Prices

Posted by on January 8th, 2018

We’ve discussed patient assistance programs before. They’re outwardly big pharma’s response to help those who are struggling to afford their drugs. On the back end however, they’re often used as a gauge companies use to determine how many patients will be affected by a particular price hike. They do not actually reduce prices or costs; merely off-load them to others like insurance companies. Many programs are difficult to get into, and may not offer coverage beyond a certain time.

A story has appeared in the news about a particular charity whose mission was to help people afford their prescription drugs. The charity, Caring Voice Coalition, was funded mainly by donations from big pharmaceutical firms. It provides co-pay support to people who cannot afford the high costs of their drugs. The charity allegedly allowed its pharma donors to have influence over how it was run, in particular, allegedly gave pharmaceutical makers information to see if their contributions were helping their own companies. This would allow them to mitigate the damage their customers would suffer if the price of the drug rose. Such a practice would be illegal.

The charity hasn’t issued a substantive rebuttal to the allegations except to say they are reviewing the letter sent to them by the Department of Health and Human Services. The point of this is to show the lengths big pharma will go to co-opt a program designed to help people. Instead of happily contributing to lowering peoples out of pocket drug costs, they surreptitiously used ill-gotten data to better plan their price hikes.

The Caring Voice Coalition could be forced to close its doors, which would lead to hardship for many people currently using their services. Big pharma has pretty much ruined a good thing for those in need. It’s another example of how patient assistance programs have a dual purpose. Publically they’re supposed to help those in need, but their actual purpose is for strategic planning and market research.

For those of you are having difficulty, or know someone having difficulty, affording their prescription drugs, we encourage you to call us. Unlike patient assistance programs you don’t have to meet any criteria to use our services. There’s no complicated paper work or limits. Call us today or visit our website to see how we might be able to help you.


FDA Permits Imports Due to Drug Shortages; Why Not Personal Importation?

Posted by on January 4th, 2018

For years we’ve been wondering when the FDA would acknowledge that drug safety agencies in other developed countries are just as good as they are. Well it turns out they do this quite often. On 37 different instances over the past seven years the FDA has had to look outside the US and import supplies of medications due to shortages. These come from countries like Canada, Australia and the EU. Recently the FDA said it would temporarily permit imports of IV solution products from outside the US. This is due to the hurricane damage in Puerto Rico which has impacted the manufacturing capacity of several pharmaceutical companies.

This begs the question if you can trust products from outside the United States on a temporary basis from certain nations, why can’t you do it on a permanent basis? In essence, why not allow Americans to order personal supplies of prescription medications from trusted countries outside the United States. As noted, the FDA already trusts imports from Canada, Australia and the EU when drug shortages threaten US supplies. On a national scale they are willing to allow imports but not on a personal level. How does that make sense?

The most obvious answer is the over 800 lobbyists employed by the pharmaceutical industry to press their case to lawmakers and bureaucrats at all levels of government. It’s all a bit of a shell game. Big pharma doesn’t cry foul over large scale, FDA backed importation because the products being imported are being made, in large part, by their own subsidiaries in other countries. You can’t legitimately complain about importing drugs from elsewhere when you’re unable to meet demand yourself. If the United States itself can go outside of its own territory to seek out supplies of prescription drugs and it is no problem. However if individuals need to go outside the US to find their prescription drugs, it’s all of a sudden a major issue. Do you see the hypocrisy yet?

Canada Drugs has been helping Americans with the prescription drug costs for nearly 20 years. If you or someone you know is having difficulty with the costs of prescription drugs or availability, contact us. There’s no harm in surveying your options. If you’d like to help fight back against high drug prices, check out the Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation (CPPI).


Acetaminophen Overdosing Is Easier Than You Think

Posted by on January 2nd, 2018

It’s cold and flu season. Sufferers can look forward to aching joints, stuffy sinuses, headaches, coughing & sneezing and uncomfortable nights. During these times people look to any number of over-the-counter remedies for relief. One category of products contains the ingredient acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is a common ingredient found in numerous OTC pain relievers and cold and flu remedies like Tylenol®, Dayquil®, Nyquil®, Excedrin®, Robitussin® etc. When looking for relief from pain or cold & flu symptoms it’s easy to get into the mindset that more is better. However it’s important that you pay close attention to the amount of medication you’re ingesting even if you think you know how to properly use it.

It is possible to overdose on acetaminophen relatively easily if you’re not paying attention to how much you are taking. It’s harmless when taken properly and at correct dosages. However it is possible to overdose on acetaminophen. In fact it sends about 78,000 Americans to the ER each year, of which 33,000 people are hospitalized. Acetaminophen overdosing is a serious medical event. It is a leading cause of liver failure. The recommended maximum daily dosage of acetaminophen is 4000 mg in 24 hours. This is the equivalent of 8 extra strength Tylenol® tablets.

If you have taken more than the daily recommended dosage it’s important to seek medical attention. Within the first 24 hours of an overdose you may experience symptoms like nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite, paleness, fatigue, and sweating. Treatments are available to deal with acetaminophen overdoses. However the best treatment is prevention.

Safety Tips:

  • It’s important to read labels carefully even if you think you already know how to use a product safely.
  • Take the correct dosage and do not take more than the label says. Make sure you leave adequate time between doses.
  • Make sure you aren’t taking two different forms of acetaminophen at a time. It’s available in both tablets and liquids in different quantities. If you’re combining forms it can be more difficult to track the milligrams you’re ingesting. You may end up taking too much.
  • Avoid taking acetaminophen more than ten days in a row unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. If you have persistent pain or illness, go see your doctor. They may be able to prescribe more effective treatments for your condition.

As with all medications it’s important to check with your pharmacist and doctor to make sure there are no food or drug interactions. Interactions can be very dangerous and even deadly. If you are taking prescription drugs consult your pharmacist to make sure acetaminophen or other OTC medications won’t interfere with them.

Over-the-counter cold and flu remedies are safe as long as they’re used as intended. Problems arise when people ignore instructions and use them in unintended ways. Many people fall into the trap of thinking if some helps, taking more is better. That’s not the case. Like in so many cases with medication too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Always follow the directions for use and never exceed the maximum daily dosage and hopefully you’ll find yourself up and about in no time.


Fake News In The Pharma-Political Landscape

Posted by on December 31st, 2017

“Fake news” used to mean the type of stuff you’d see on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart or in The Onion or, for Canadians, on This Hour Has 22 Minutes. It meant news that was obviously and deliberately fake; usually satire intended to make a point or just to make people laugh. But the term “fake news” has taken on a new meaning in the internet age. It’s become a term associated with the deliberate spread of misinformation, downright lies, and hoaxes through traditional, generally trusted, media sources. People are generally unable to distinguish fake from real news. Most people don’t take the time to fact check the people who are supposed to be the fact checkers. The six o’clock news used to be factual gospel, now people question the political leanings of the reporters, jumping on any grammatical choice that they disagree with as proof the news is biased one way or the other.

Fake news is now a part of the pharmaceutical political landscape too. For years the pharmaceutical lobby has engaged in a fake news campaign against legitimate online mail order pharmacies. They have told politicians, the media and Americans that all online or non-US pharmacies are rogues that can’t be trusted. They have accused legitimate online pharmacies with contributing to the opioid problem in the US. They have accused legitimate online pharmacies with supplying substandard or fake medications. For properly credentialed and certified online pharmacies none of this is true. But big pharma’s lobbyists don’t distinguish between bad actors and good actors. They lump everyone together in the bad actor category. Why do they do this? It’s because you cannot put together a cogent, watertight argument against credentialed, certified online pharmacies. For example, pharmacies certified by the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA) have a 100% safety record. Work done by Roger Bate, a visiting scholar at the conservative leaning American Enterprise Institute, supports the safety of credentialed online pharmacies. Here are a few examples of his work:

Catch 22: Credentialed online pharmacies are so safe that peer review literature is no longer interested in results showing it

New Paper: The Risks and Benefits of the Online Pharmacy Market

Trump, drug prices, and drug quality

What Bate’s work shows is that credentialed online pharmacies, like Canada Drugs, are safe and provide high quality prescription medications. This research, based on empirical testing and factual analysis, runs in stark contrast to the narrative pushed by big pharma. Big pharma’s story is that online pharmacies based outside the US, no matter their policies, oversight, or credentials are illegitimate. They smear them all as suppliers of substandard, adulterated, fake, or illegal drugs. Their broad-brush approach lacks credibility, factual analysis and any sort of truth. In fact it is the very definition of fake news.

We fully agree rogue online pharmacies exist. However they are easily distinguishable from legitimate sites. Legitimate pharmacies require prescriptions from licensed practitioners. They do not, under any circumstances, sell controlled medications like opioids. Legitimate pharmacies are credentialed by groups like CIPA or PharmacyChecker. Illegitimate pharmacies do not require prescriptions (they might even offer you one). They do not have credentials (though they may steal badges from legitimate sites), and they sell opioids and other controlled medications. As with everything, do your due diligence. Canada Drugs has been around for close to 20 years and has a proven track record.

The fake news spread by the pharma lobby about online pharmacies is not funny or obviously fake. It doesn’t have a point except to force people to keep buy very expensive drugs in the US. It is intended to scare people away from an option that could save them hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each year. Fake news is a big problem in many ways, but the biggest is that people get wrong and/or misleading information and they then use that information to inform their actions, not knowing they’ve been misled. It’s wrong and should stop particularly in the pharmaceutical industry.

If you’d like to push for freer access to the personal importation of prescription drugs, and fight back against the “fake news” spread by big pharma’s lobbyists, you can check out the Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation (CPPI).