A new book about our ailing healthcare system.
In her new book, American Sickness, Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD, an award-winning journalist, currently chief editor of Kaiser Health News, and formerly with the New York Times, recommends visiting PharmacyChecker.com to consumers who choose to import more affordable medications for themselves or their family members via online pharmacies.
In general, Ms. Rosenthal’s book explains why our healthcare system is such a mess in terms of consumer and government costs; who is responsible; how we can make things better – and most importantly – what consumers can do NOW to take on the special interests and save money. It’s a great book for citizens, healthcare advocates and policy makers who want a deeper understanding of what ails our healthcare system. (more…)
Tagged with: american sickness, Elisabeth Rosenthal
This will not be major headline news anytime soon but it’s true. Last week our friends at RxRights blogged about new data from the Commonwealth Fund showing that the number of Americans ages 19-64 who did not fill prescriptions due to cost decreased to a depressing 35 million in 2014 from the even more depressing figure of 50 million in 2012. Obamacare, lower unemployment, and a stronger economy in which people feel more secure paying for even very expensive medications are largely responsible. Minus the very expensive medications – that’s all good stuff.
And how about international online pharmacies and personal drug importation? Well, just yesterday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that about 2% of Americans are still buying medication from foreign countries. That’s about 5 million Americans who would potentially go without needed medication if it were not for lower cost foreign medication sold by safe international online pharmacies.
I did not use the word “potentially” loosely. Some of those five million are getting nabbed by rogue online pharmacies, resulting in too many Americans taking substandard, adulterated, or counterfeit medications. If those people are informed properly they will not be victims. PharmacyChecker.com is there for you: if you are one of the 35 million Americans wondering whether you can afford that medication prescribed by your doctor, we’re doing better than ever at empowering you with information that helps you get the medications you need at a price you can afford while steering clear of rogue online pharmacies.
It’s important to remember how dangerous it is to not take the medications you need. One expert at CDC stated: “People who do not take their medication as prescribed have more hospitalizations, emergency room visits and an increased burden of their illness.”
It’s important to note that the CDC report provided lower figures on how many Americans are going without prescribed medications due to cost than the Commonwealth Fund reported: about one in 10. We’re going to look at the data in the coming weeks and provide you some guidance on this discrepancy. But clearly the overall numbers have gotten better in the last two years.
We thrive on these better numbers – more consumers accessing the healthcare they need –but with tens of millions of Americans saying they can’t afford their meds there’s so much more work to be done!
Tagged with: CDC, Commonwealth Fund
A Bittersweet Prescription
OPEN enrollment for Medicare Part D drug plans ended this past Sunday, but my thoughts about them linger. Our website www.MedicareDrugpPlans.com received about 150 ratings of part D plans in 2014 – most of them highly critical, and some of them downright scathing! Whether it’s a plan’s horrible customer service, lack of coverage of many brand name drugs, or dropped coverage, we’re hearing from many irate seniors. At the same time, some studies have shown most seniors are happy with their plans. Why all the contradictions about Part D? To understand, please join me on a trip down Part D memory lane.
When PharmacyChecker.com was founded in 2002, American seniors did not have pharmacy benefit plans through Medicare. While most seniors had some drug coverage through private health insurance or Medicaid, 25% were without any drug coverage and, thus, vulnerable to a pharmacy’s highest retail price. Just eight months after our website launched in April 2003, Congress passed and the president signed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA), which created a pharmacy benefit opportunity for all Medicare enrollees known as Part D.
It’s amazing and sad to report that, today, the problem of high drug prices for Americans overall is worse than the problems existing before the MMA was born. In 2001, the Commonwealth Fund reported that 28 million Americans did not fill a prescription due to cost. That number shot up to 50 million Americans in 2012!
Tagged with: MMA, Part D, seniors
A new report shows that out-of-pocket prescription costs may be twice as high for plans created by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, than traditional employer plans. This burden falls on patients with high deductibles who must pay out-of-pocket for 100% of their costs until they hit their deductible, which tends to be around $2,000 for Silver plans.
That isn’t to say these new plans are bad; preventative care is usually covered for free and can sometimes stave off the need for medications in the first place. The problem will usually hit hardest on those who depend on medications for a chronic condition. However, unforeseen medical issues could throw anyone into this cost predicament.
The goal of the Affordable Care Act was to make healthcare, well, affordable, and it won’t be for people who cannot afford drugs because of weak pharmacy benefits. The report also showed that Silver plans have higher co-insurance and co-pay rates than typical employer-sponsored plans.
If you’re finding yourself facing a high deductible, and generic alternatives at your local pharmacy are not available, you might consider an online pharmacy. You can save up to 90% on brand name medication from verified international pharmacies.
Tagged with: Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, Silver Plans
Section 708 of the Food and Drug Safety and Innovation Act of 2012 allows U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to destroy your imported prescription orders. Even if the drug is the real deal, safe and effective, it can be destroyed. But wait! The law can’t take effect until the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, publishes regulations that provide Americans the opportunity to contest when their medications are seized by CBP. She is drafting those regulations right now, which will be followed by a period for public comment. Let her know that she is now responsible for protecting your access to affordable, imported medication. She should understand. As governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius adopted a personal drug importation program by providing information online that helped residents find lower cost medications from licensed foreign pharmacies.
Sign the Petition!
Tagged with: Food and Drug Safety and Innovation Act of 2012, Kathleen Sebelius, Section 708
Today, the New York Times published an Op-Ed by PharmacyChecker.com Vice President Gabriel Levitt entitled “Scare Tactics over Foreign Drugs” which explains that actions by our government and the pharmaceutical industry to frighten people risks leaving them without the medicines they need. I encourage you to read the article.
To learn more about the issues at play check out The International Online Pharmacy Report for 2013: The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly.
Tagged with: Big Pharma, FDA, Gabriel Levitt, The New York Times