prescription drugs

No More Secrets: Congress Bans Pharmacist ‘Gag Orders’ On Drug Prices

Oct 10, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

For years, most pharmacists couldn’t give customers even a clue about an easy way to save money on prescription drugs. But the restraints are coming off.

When the cash price for a prescription is less than what you would pay using your insurance plan, pharmacists will no longer have to keep that a secret.

healthcare.gov

Consumers signing up for health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace should double check how prescriptions are covered.

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Makers of brand-name drugs called out by the Trump administration for potentially stalling generic competition have hiked their prices by double-digit percentages since 2012 and cost Medicare and Medicaid nearly $12 billion in 2016, a Kaiser Health News analysis has found.

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Facing a rising death toll from drug overdoses, state lawmakers across the country are testing a strategy to boost treatment for opioid addicts: Force drug manufacturers and their distributors to pay for it.

The Tallahassee Police Department will be collecting prescription drugs this Saturday as part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. 

Saturday is National Drug Take Back Day, in which people are encouraged to clean out their old prescriptions and properly dispose them. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is one of many police departments that will be participating.

Danny Alvarez, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson, said that properly disposing drugs will protect everyone from potential opioid abuse.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

A program to give naloxone overdose-antidote kits and training to front-line officers. Funding for pill disposal boxes in pharmacies, clinics and police stations across North Carolina. A radio campaign in Connecticut warning of the dangers of opioid abuse. A new medicine to treat opioid-induced constipation.

Medicaid Program Limiting Opioid Prescriptions

Feb 21, 2018

As lawmakers consider proposals to limit opioid prescriptions, Gov. Rick Scott’s administration is taking steps to do the same in the Florida Medicaid program.

Phil Galewitz/Kaiser Health News / Kaiser Health News

Some cities, counties and school districts in Florida and around the country are helping their employees buy cheap prescription drugs from Canada and overseas.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

Inspired by a ProPublica story in April that described how nursing homes and their pharmacies nationwide throw away hundreds of tons of valuable medicines — and how one Iowa nonprofit successfully recycles them — two states are working to create similar programs.

Florida’s law enforcement, emergency and mental health workers are struggling to cope with a rising tide of opioid overdoses.  Lawmakers are looking for solutions ahead of the coming year’s legislative session.

There are few laws in place to keep prescription drug companies from raising their prices to levels unaffordable for many people.

The U.S. is in the midst of an opioid crisis. Millions of Americans are addicted to the powerful prescription painkillers, and tens of thousands are dying each year from overdoses.

A new report out Thursday offers a bit of hope: Doctors are prescribing opioids less often, and the average dose they're giving patients has dropped, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Exclusive: White House Task Force Echoes Pharma Proposals

Jun 19, 2017

President Donald Trump repeatedly talks tough about reining in the pharmaceutical industry, but his administration’s efforts to lower drug prices are shrouded in secrecy.

Senior administrative officials met Friday to discuss an executive order on the cost of pharmaceuticals, a roundtable informed by Trump’s “Drug Pricing and Innovation Working Group.” Kaiser Health News examined documents that shed light on the workings of this working group.

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Jane Morse needed to fill a prescription that was going to cost her about $300. She's on Medicare but doesn't have a prescription drug plan so she's learned to shop around.

A bill adding more drugs to Florida’s prescription-medicine price database is heading to Governor Rick Scott’s desk for his signature.

The measure was sponsored by two Jacksonville lawmakers: Rep. Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville, and Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach.


When teaching hospitals put pharmaceutical sales representatives on a shorter leash, their doctors tended to order fewer promoted brand-name drugs and used more generic versions instead, a study published Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, shows.

As I stood up to end our visit, Frank indicated he had one more question.

"You know those commercials for Cialis?" he asked. "Would that be all right for me to try?"

Here we go with the bathtubs again, I think to myself. Toned silver-hairs in side-by-side bathtubs on a deck somewhere looking out at the sunset.

Give me a break.

It's not always drugs for erectile dysfunction. I've been asked about TV spots hawking pharmaceuticals for nail fungus, depression, acid reflux, cholesterol and irritable bowels, just to name a few.

Most potential new drugs fail when they're tested in people. These failures are not only a major disappointment, they sharply drive up the cost of developing new drugs.

A major reason for these failures is that most new drugs are first tested out in mice, rats or other animals. Often those animal studies show great promise.

But mice aren't simply furry little people, so these studies often lead science astray. Some scientists are now rethinking animal studies to make them more effective for human health.

John Krahne received alarming news from his doctor last December. His brain tumors were stable, but his lung tumors had grown noticeably larger.

The doctor recommended a drug called Alecensa, which sells for more than $159,000 a year. Medicare would charge Krahne a $3,200 copay in December, then another $3,200 in January, as a new year of coverage kicked in.

What’s At Risk In GOP’s Health Overhaul

Feb 21, 2017
WMFE

As Republicans look at ways to replace or repair the health law, many suggest shrinking the list of services insurers are required to offer in individual and small group plans would reduce costs and increase flexibility.

MGN Online

Two Florida lawmakers want health insurance companies to stick by their contracts when it comes to prescription medications.

As drug prices have spiraled upward, tens of millions of generally law-abiding Americans have committed an illegal act in response: They have bought prescriptions medicines outside the U.S. and imported them.

Take Debra Miller, of Collinston, La., who traveled to Mexico four times a year for 10 years to get diabetes and blood pressure medicine. She quit in 2011 after the border patrol caught her returning to the U.S. with a three-month supply that had cost her $40. The former truck driver drew a warning not to do it again, but she got to keep her pills.

The Justice Department is investigating the pricing practices of several generic drug manufacturers because the list prices of many older medications have risen in lockstep in recent years.

That investigation could lead to an antitrust lawsuit alleging price-fixing by the end of this year, according to a report by Bloomberg News. Bloomberg cited anonymous sources familiar with the probe.

Drew Makepeace / Flickr

A majority of Americans favor government action to restrain prescription drug prices, according to a poll released Thursday.

When tennis star Maria Sharapova admitted in March to having taken the heart drug meldonium, the public got a rare glimpse of a common practice that's often called "legal doping."

Younger people may not realize it, but seniors know well that Medicare doesn't cover all health-related needs and expenses. Many Medicare beneficiaries have some kind of supplemental insurance that partly covers the gaps. But those policies mainly provide financial protection for the patient's share of costs for regular doctor visits and hospital care covered by Medicare. Until 2006, Medicare didn't cover prescription drugs.

Some things that Medicare doesn't cover:

Report: US Medicine Spending Up 8.5 Percent

Apr 14, 2016
Associated Press

U.S. spending on prescription drugs rose 8.5 percent last year, slightly less than in 2014, driven mainly by growing use of ultra-expensive new drugs and price hikes on other medicines.

FDA Adds Boldest Warning To Most Widely Used Painkillers

Mar 23, 2016
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press / Associated Press Photo

Federal health regulators will add their strongest warning labels to the most widely prescribed painkillers, part of a multi-pronged government campaign to stem an epidemic of abuse and death tied to drugs like Vicodin and Percocet.

The battle over drug prices escalated Monday when health insurance giant Anthem Inc. sued Express Scripts, a manager of drug benefits, to get a bigger share of savings on prescription medicines.

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