Category Archives: Prescriptions

“Why the US has higher drug prices than other countries” – The Conversation

Rx sales 2

“Spending on pharmaceuticals is on the rise worldwide. And it well should be. Today, we are able to cure some diseases like hepatitis C that were virtual death sentences just a few years ago. This progress required significant investments by governments and private companies alike. Unquestionably, the world is better off for it.

“Unfortunately, as President Trump pointed out in the State of the Union address, the United States has borne a significant amount of the negative effects associated with this development. For one, its regulatory apparatus has focused largely on drug safety, yet regulators have failed to emphasize cost-effectiveness when it comes to both new and existing drugs.

“At the same time, the United States also pays significantly higher prices than the rest of the developed world when it comes to prescription drugs, due primarily to limited competition among drug companies.”

Read this article at The Conversation in its entirety, click here.


Read this related article: “Paying for Prescription Drugs Around the World: Why Is the U.S. an Outlier?” The Commonwealth Fund

“The Out-of-Pocket Cost Burden for Specialty Drugs in Medicare Part D in 2019” – Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

“Medicare Part D has helped to make prescription drugs more affordable for people with Medicare, yet many beneficiaries continue to face high out-of-pocket costs for their medications. Specialty tier drugs—defined by Medicare as drugs that cost more than $670 per month in 2019—are a particular concern for Part D enrollees in this context. Part D plans are allowed to charge between 25 percent and 33 percent coinsurance for specialty tier drugs before enrollees reach the coverage gap, where they pay 25 percent for all brands, followed by 5 percent coinsurance when total out-of-pocket spending exceeds an annual threshold ($5,100 in 2019). While specialty tier drugs are taken by a relatively small share of enrollees, spending on these drugs has increased over time and now accounts for over 20 percent of total Part D spending, up from about 6 to 7 percent before 2010.”

medicare part d

“Figure 1: Medicare Part D beneficiaries can pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for specialty tier drugs, with the majority of costs for many drugs above the catastrophic threshold.”

Continue reading this article, click here.

 

“This Type of Illiteracy Could Hurt You”- The New York Times

“More than half of older Americans lack the skills to gather and understand medical information. Providers must simplify, researchers say.”

health literacy

by Paula Span

“Every time her parents pick up a new prescription at a Walgreens in Houston, they follow Duyen Pham-Madden’s standing instructions: Use the iPad she bought for them, log onto FaceTime, hold up the pill bottles for her examination.

“Her mother, 79, and father, 77, need numerous medications, but have trouble grasping when and how to take them.

“The label may say to take one pill three times a day, but ‘my dad might take one a day,’ said Ms. Pham-Madden, 56, an insurance purchasing agent in Blue Springs, Mo. ‘Or take three at a time.’

“So she interprets the directions for them, also reminding her mother to take the prescribed megadose of vitamin D, for osteoporosis, only weekly, not daily.”

Continue reading this important article at The New York Times, click here.

 

NeedyMeds is a national non-profit organization that maintains a website of free information on programs that help people who can’t afford medications and healthcare costs.

needymeds

Check out this resource to find help with the cost of medicine: https://www.needymeds.org 

“CDC: 1 in 5 Americans suffer from chronic pain” – FireceHealthcare

chronic pain“The CDC estimates that 20% of Americans suffer from chronic pain.” (Getty/smartstock)

by Paige Minemyer

“Nearly 20 million Americans suffer from chronic pain that interferes with their daily activities, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The CDC reviewed the 2016 National Health Interview Survey, which includes responses from more than 17,000 adults, and found that 1 in 5 Americans, or about 50 million people, suffer from chronic pain.

“Of those, 8%, or about 19.6 million, suffer from pain that interferes with their daily lives.”

Keep reading this article at Fierce Healthcare.com.

“Rebalancing the pendulum: A person-centered approach to treating pain” – Aging Today

pile of pills

by Raca Banerjee

“Mary is a 55-year old patient with terminal breast cancer. She suffers from severe pain and her doctor suggests that she consider using a fentanyl transdermal patch to help allevi­ate her symptoms. In response, she exclaims: ‘Fentanyl? The stuff that killed Prince? No thank you!’

“Current Prescribing Perilous

“This anecdote reflects society’s changing attitude toward opioids, but brings up another impor­tant point. How, while our nation battles an opioid epidemic, do we ensure that patients are open to taking narcotics when needed, or have ac­­cess to pain medication? It is difficult to manage opi­oid prescribing in a way that prevents abuse while meeting patients’ needs. This becomes twice as hard when prescribing for the aging population, including older adults who have ad­­vanced-stage illness or who are at the end of life.

“Barriers that limit access to appropriate opioid treatment include patient fear, physician reluctance to prescribe and strict pharmacy controls or insurer preauthorization restrictions. While these last three issues are important to curbing the opioid epidemic, they may inadvertently lead to under-treatment of pain.”

“A flu drug — shown to reduce the duration of symptoms — could upend treatment in U.S.” – STAT

Original Title: 3D_Influenza_black_no_key_full_lrg2.jpgA graphical representation of a generic Influenza virus. CDC

by Helen Branswell

Next winter, there may be a new drug for people who contract influenza — one that appears to be able to shut down infection quickly and, unlike anything else on the market, can be taken as a single dose.

“The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday said that it would give the drug, baloxavir marboxil, a priority review, and approval has the potential to upend the way influenza is treated.

“Baloxavir marboxil has already been licensed in Japan, where it is sold by Shionogi & Co. under the brand name Xofluza.”

Read the article in its entirety, click here.

“Medical Non-Adherence Isn’t Just Forgetting Your Meds” – Tech50+

by Gary Kaye, Chief Content Officer

non-adherence

“By some estimates, the cost of patients not taking their medications as prescribed – known as medical non-adherence or non-compliance – is as high as $290 billion each year and may result in as many as 125,000 unnecessary deaths.

“It’s a vexing problem for health care providers, pharmacies, insurers, and almost every other player in the health care system with only 50% of us take our medication as prescribed.

“I recently spoke with Tomer Gofer, CEO of Vaica, a company developing digital health products to help us remember how and when to take our medications as we should.

“Gofer says ‘there are many reasons why patients don’t take their medications as prescribed: forgetfulness; side effects; the cost; the complexity of regimen; they don’t understand why they need to take it; or they are getting better and think they don’t need it anymore. And the constant: no one knows exactly what the patient is doing because no one is around to see or help in the event of an emergency.’”

Keep reading this important article, click here.

Friday Wrap-Up, April 20, 2018 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth. Click here download the newsletter as a .pdf file.

Friday Wrap-Up_04-20-18

“December 2017 Report: Drug Interactions – How to Avoid Them” – National Poll on Healthy Aging

Hispanic man examining prescription bottle in kitchen

“Most older Americans take multiple medicines every day. But a new poll suggests they don’t get – or seek – enough help to make sure those medicines actually mix safely.”

“Most older Americans take multiple medicines every day. But a new poll suggests they don’t get – or seek – enough help to make sure those medicines actually mix safely.

“That lack of communication could be putting older adults at risk of health problems from interactions between their drugs, and between their prescription drugs and other substances such as over-the-counter medicines, supplements, food and alcohol.

“The new results, from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, show that only about one in three older Americans who take at least one prescription drug have talked to anyone about possible drug interactions in the past two years.

medication

“Even among those taking six or more different medicines, only 44 percent had talked to someone about possible drug interactions.”

Click here to continue reading this article and to download the full report.