PharmacyChecker Blog

Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
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Avandia and Actos: Online Safety and Affordability

The diabetes drug Avandia has been making headlines due to some longstanding safety and side effect concerns. Some doctors and diabetes patients may now be considering alternative medication, such as Actos.  We think it is important to point out that both drugs cost thousands of dollars per year, and that the price of Avandia, as well as Actos, at U.S. pharmacies is about 5 – 10 times higher than in some other countries.  That in itself is a safety concern – as these drugs remain out of reach to many Americans. Furthermore, people who may switch to Actos will find that it is nearly twice as expensive as Avandia.

The National Diabetes Information Clearing House states, “According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes spend an average of $11,744 a year on health care expenses—more than twice the amount spent by people without diabetes.” What’s more, a 2004 study by researchers at the University of Michigan and Veterans Affairs shows that about one in five older diabetes patients cannot afford necessary medications. Out of 812 people surveyed (50 years and older), 20% said they had skipped prescriptions in the past, almost one-third said they had to limit basic needs like heat and food, and 10% borrowed money, all to cover the costs of their diabetes medication. (more…)

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Rogue Pharmacy Connections Found In’s Network

The LegitScript network of “approved” online pharmacies includes connections to rogue pharmacies, although this is something that LegitScript prefers not to disclose. In 2008, Cardinal Health, which has a number of LegitScript-approved Internet Pharmacies within its retail network, paid a settlement of $34 million to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for allegedly shipping controlled substances to illegitimate online pharmacies. According to then DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart:

“Cardinal’s negligent conduct contributed to our nation’s serious pharmaceutical abuse problem. This substantial civil penalty underscores DEA’s determination to prevent pharmaceutical diversion and protect the public health and safety by continuing to hold companies responsible if they fail to fulfill their obligations under the Controlled Substance Act.”

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$250 Medicare Drug Rebate Checks, A Small Start

It has reached mid-June and the first of an estimated 4 million health reform rebate checks will be sent out this week. These checks will go to Medicare enrollees who have already reached the Medicare drug plan coverage gap, known as the “doughnut hole,” and subsequent checks will be mailed out 45 days after other Medicare enrollees hit the hole. According to, eligible recipients who reach the “doughnut hole” this year will receive this one-time rebate check to offer some immediate relief.

Our previous post noted that compared to the $3,610 gap, $250 doesn’t seem like a lot of money. In fact it is only one-fourteenth of the total cost seniors will have to pay to get out of that hole and back into government subsidized prescription drug territory. This realization is discouraging in itself, but added to the fact that drug companies are boosting their prices higher than ever, seniors are faced with diluted savings that make little to no impact on their financial access to necessary prescription drugs.

The $250 check some seniors will receive this week, and others throughout the year, is welcome relief, but until pharmaceutical manufacturer’s stop taking advantage of consumers in need by jacking drug prices, prescription abandonment, prescription non-adherence, and unavoidable debt, will undoubtedly continue to grow.

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