Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Atlantic article] The Cold-Medicine Racket

From the 19 December 2014 Atlantic article by 

There are now hundreds of flashy “cold and flu” products, but still only a handful of simple, cheap ingredients. Here’s one new way to cut through the noise.

One in four people, when buying an over-the-counter medicine to treat a headache, will go for a brand name product. Unless that person is a pharmacist. In that case, according to research from the National Bureau of Economic Research, they’ll almost certainly buy a generic version. The pharmacists know, and trust, that the drugs are identical.

But Bayer aspirin costs $6.29 at CVS, while the same amount of CVS-brand aspirin costs less than a third of that, $1.99. The two products are required by law to be “bioequivalent,” and CVS even has signs imploring shoppers to go for the cheaper option. Yet many people do no such thing. The difference in price between brand names and generics accounts for tens of billions of dollars “wasted” every year by Americans in pharmacies, according to the economics researchers. They also found that more highly educated people are more likely to buy generic medications, concluding that “misinformation explains a sizable share of the brand premium for health products.”

Consumer confusion, or misplaced trust, is compounded by the fact that a drug store is likely to have upwards of 300 cold-and-flu products.

Angelotti, formerly at Google, has now co-created a program that can help people pare down their options. On the Iodine site, you can click on the symptoms you’re experiencing, and that will comb a database of common cold-and-flu products and tell you which ones meet your needs. The results also include product reviews (via Google, with over 100,000 medication reviews so far), dosage forms (liquid or pill), active ingredients, and the names of generic versions at various pharmacies.

[janice’s note…it would still be wise to consult with an expert…as in a licensed pharmacist!]

January 20, 2015 Posted by | Consumer Health, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The wacky world of prescription prior authorizations

English: National Naval Medical Center, Bethes...

English: National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., (Aug. 19, 2003) — Pharmacist Randal Heller, right, verifies the dosage and medication of a prescription at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Heller checks all prescriptions dispensed at the pharmacy before they are handed over the counter to the patient. Heller is retired as a Commander from the Navy Medical Service Corps. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Seth Rossman. (RELEASED) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pharmacists are among my favorite professionals.
I’ve always been able to get expert prescription drug related information (as side effects) and OTC advice for free! Even when I wasn’t their customer.

But even they are human and have their customer service pet peeves.
Don’t we all who work with clients, customer, and “the public”.
(Just hope I’m not one of those wacky customers!).

 

From the 26 July 2013 KevinMD article

 | MEDS | JULY 26, 2013

It’s happened at last: the epitome of ridiculousness in the already pretty ridiculous world of drug prior authorizations. I wish I could say that I made this up.

I got a fax from a pharmacy requesting a prior authorization for a brand name drug called Protonix, one of a family of medications used to treat ulcers, acid reflux, and other forms of tummy ache. This happens. Because there are five different drugs in this class (not counting generics), there is no way I can keep straight which plans prefer which drug. Sadly, switching patients from one medication to another, even if it’s working just fine, purely because of which drug maker is in bed with which insurance plan, is an everyday event. No big deal.

Here’s the thing: the patient was already doing well on pantoprazole, which happens to be generic Protonix. What?

The fax from the pharmacy has more information: “The patient wants a prescription for brand name Protonix because she has a coupon that will allow her to pay only $4.00 for it.”

It just so happens that pantoprazole is already on the list of $4.00 generics!

But, says the pharmacy, that’s what the patient wants.

Read the entire article here

July 26, 2013 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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