Big Pharma

01 Jul: Q&A: Why we need a public option for health insurance

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, has written an excellent piece for Truthout that explains why a public option for health insurance is so vital to true healthcare reform. Here are some choice excerpts from Dean’s article, which I’ve organized in a Q&A format: Why is healthcare so expensive in the United States today? The basic story is simple. The insurance, pharmaceutical and medical supply industries, along with the hospitals and the American Medical Association, have rigged the deck so that they get rich at the public’s expense. They have structured our health care system so that we pay more than twice as much per person as people in other wealthy countries, even though we…

30 Jun: Politico bashes AARP for fighting to keep prescription drug costs low

If you follow political coverage, you’ve no doubt heard about the AARP lobby. The AARP’s opponents like to paint the organization’s lobby as one of the most powerful back-room forces in Washington. While this charge is open to question, it’s a narrative that many reporters have bought into — lock, stock and barrel. The most recent example of this narrative in action is this story by Politico’s Chris Frates, in which he says the AARP is “threatening” legislators on healthcare reform and quotes a pharmaceutical industry representative trashing the organization and saying its real motives are financial (even though it is a non-profit organization). What a bunch of nonsense. Yes, as lobbies of non-profit organizations representing real people go, the…

24 Jun: It’s not a “free market” — Big Pharma has bought and paid for it

Can I make a suggestion to you? When some political blowhard on TV or the radio tells you something, don’t automatically believe it. Do your research to learn the facts for yourself, OK? You see, pundits and politicians lie. And they hope you’ll be so accepting of their carefully crafted talking points that you won’t bother to investigate an issue for yourself. A great example is high drug prices. America has — by far — the highest prescription drug prices in the world. But the pharmaceutical industry, aided by various demagogic pundits and alleged “think tanks,” has done a masterful job of convincing a sizable minority of Americans that these high prices are not the pharmaceutical industry’s fault, or our…

23 Jun: Q&A: Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2009

We’ve received a lot of questions from the eDrugSearch.com community about the Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2009, the proposed legislation that would enable Americans, once and for all, to legally purchase prescription drugs from Canada. Here some common questions about the bill, along with answers provided by the bill’s sponsors: Q: Why is this bill necessary? A: American consumers are charged the highest prices in the world for the same medicines that are available in other major, industrialized nations at a fraction of the cost. The Congressional Budget Office estimates this legislation will save U.S. consumers more than $50 billion over the next decade. The legislation will allow American consumers to import FDA-approved prescription drugs at…

22 Jun: Understanding the Pharmaceutical Market Access & Drug Safety Act 2009

As readers of this blog know, we have been following the proposed Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act carefully as it wends its way through Congress. So far, neither the House nor Senate versions of the bill have gotten very far since their introduction in early March, although there has been some talk that the Senate bill may be put to a vote within a matter of weeks. For those of you who would like to learn more about this proposed legislation, which would allow American consumers to legally purchase prescription drugs from Canada and other Tier One countries, you can read the full text of the House bill here, and a summary here. Why do we need this…

19 Jun: “Prospects for Legalizing Drug Reimportation to the United States”

A new U.K. report, “Prospects for Legalizing Drug (Re-)Importation to the United States“, has been released on the topic of U.S. citizens buying drugs from online Canadian pharmacies and other Tier One countries, such as the U.K., Australia and Japan. The report promises insight and analysis on these key questions: Will the drug reimportation bill pass? Where would supplies come from? What would be the risks and savings for consumers? What would be the risks and opportunities for industry players? The report, issued by London-based Report Buyer, presents itself this way: With public and private payers across the country seeking to save every healthcare dollar to get through the economic recession, [Sen. Byron] Dorgan senses a ‘bit of a tailwind’…

18 Jun: Prescription for pharma: More research, less promotion

Anne Dunev at The Huffington Post recently called attention to a thought-provoking article published at the peer-reviewed journal of the Public Library of Science. Titled “The Cost of Pushing Pills: A New Estimate of Pharmaceutical Promotion Expenditures in the United States,” the 2008 article by Canadian academics Marc-André Gagnon and Joel Lexchin concludes: From this new estimate, it appears that pharmaceutical companies spend almost twice as much on promotion as they do on R&D. These numbers clearly show how promotion predominates over R&D in the pharmaceutical industry, contrary to the industry’s claim … (I)t confirms the public image of a marketing-driven industry and provides an important argument to petition in favor of transforming the workings of the industry in the direction…

15 Jun: Want your share of the billions Big Pharma has stolen from you? GLWT

You probably didn’t see it in the news — since it got about 1/1000th of the coverage received by Sarah Palin spatting with David Letterman and Spencer and Heidi quitting “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here” — but a noteworthy legal settlement occurred last week. A major drug wholesaler, McKesson Corp., and two drug-price publishers have settled a class-action lawsuit accusing them of inflating drug prices. Here’s an explanation of what they did, according to the suit: “Prescription drugs often are priced using certain benchmarks. The most common pricing benchmark is called the Average Wholesale Price (“AWP”). AWP is often used in determining how much insurance companies and other Third-Party Payors will reimburse for these prescription drugs…

08 Jun: Legislative maneuver focuses on right to purchase Canadian drugs

In March, bills to finally legalize the purchase of Canadian drugs by U.S. citizens were introduced in both houses of Congress. With a solidly Democratic Congress, the bills seemed to be a legislative slam dunk. But with politicians kicking around big-picture healthcare issues, smaller pieces of legislation like this one (as well as the similarly worthy Healthy Workforce Act) have been put on the back burner. Now, thanks to some clever maneuvering by longtime Canadian pharmacy advocates in the Senate, including Byron Dorgan and John McCain (pictured above), Canadian drug reimportation is back on the forefront of the legislative agenda. Last week, Dorgan (D-ND) proposed the “Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2009″ to be introduced as an…

01 Jun: FDA’s silly edicts prove that DTC advertising was a bad idea all along

Sometime back, Effect Measure posed a question many of us have pondered about direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical commercials: What’s with the side-by-side bath tubs in the Cialis ads? Here are some of the answers given in comments — “Cialis really gets your pipes flowing or plumbing flowing…” “Bathtubs — because you can’t show naked, mutually aroused adults on the sandy beach on TV, but you can imply they are naked and mutually aroused whilst lounging in soapy tubs on a sandy beach on TV.” “I think it is to convey the impression that Cialis is ripe for a slow, romantic build-up to sex and not as much about rushing to the goal. Take your time, relax, have a wonderful evening just…

12 May: RealAge: Selling your medical secrets to Big Pharma?

If one of the big pharmaceutical companies, like Pfizer or GlaxoSmithKline, asked you to fill out a detailed questionnaire on your health so that they could turn around and use this information to e-mail you prescription drug advertising, would you do it? I’d guess that most people wouldn’t. In fact, many would be insulted at being asked to reveal their medical secrets to help Big Pharma make a buck. And yet, close to 30 million people have effectively done just this — by clicking on Internet ads to take a quiz by RealAge that claims to calculate their true “biological age.” As the New York Times has reported: RealAge allows drug companies to send e-mail messages based on those test…

29 Apr: Healthcare, prescription drugs, and the plight of the self-employed

I recently came across a remarkable blog rant by a man named Jim Thornton, a competitive swimmer at age 56. Under a list of his latest swimming times, he shared the story of some of the struggles he’d recently been having with healthcare and prescription drug costs. An excerpt: Our health insurance went up to $1711.50 a month for a plan that requires each member of the family to spend $1400 a year before complete coverage kicks in. For a variety of complicated reasons, we cannot alter any of the terms of the policy. It is a take it or leave it situation. If we leave it, my wife and I have been taking statin drugs and antidepressants and will…

28 Apr: Investment analyst: Obama’s reforms will barely make a dent in Big Pharma’s profits

We’ve heard endless whining by Big Pharma and its water carriers in Congress about how President Obama’s plans to reduce prescription drug costs will all but destroy the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. An investment analyst who covers the industry thinks otherwise. Jason Napodano, in a report for Zacks Investment Research published earlier this month, writes: When President Obama’s administration released the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, drug stocks quickly dropped. Fears of socialized medicine, or “Hillary-Care 2.0” turned investors away from the sector. Was the drop warranted? … The net result of healthcare reform is likely to be limited on big pharmaceutical earnings … At this point, the fear of healthcare reform seems entirely more bark than bite. Napodano…

21 Apr: Big Pharma ignores down economy, raises prescription drug prices again

The AARP’s annual report on prescription drug prices, released last week, reveals that pharmaceutical manufacturers raised prices on the most popular brand-name drugs by 8.7 percent in 2008 — well over twice the rate of inflation. According to the AP: AARP’s report highlighted growing costs of what it said were the 219 most widely used brand-name drugs. Among the drugs that saw the biggest price increases in 2008, according to AARP: Prevacid, for acid reflux; Wellbutrin, for depression; and Lunesta, for sleeping. Prevacid went up by 30 percent, Wellbutrin by 21 percent and Lunesta by 20 percent. Financial analysts have attributed some of the increases to drug makers attempting to boost profits amid an economic downturn as they confront the…

13 Apr: Who’s abusing Google ads? It’s not online pharmacies — it’s Big Pharma

Big Pharma abusing Google ads?Big Pharma abusing Google ads? When the topic of Americans buying drugs from Canadian pharmacies comes up, one company whose name is rarely mentioned is Google. That’s odd to me, since (1) Google is such a news magnet, and (2) without Google, far fewer Americans would be buying their prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies. Big Pharma despises Google for explicitly permitting licensed Canadian pharmacies to advertise to U.S. consumers through its AdWords network — a tacit endorsement of cross-border medication sales. For some time now, Big Pharma and its proxies have been waging a secret campaign to force Google to stop allowing Canadian pharmacies to advertise through AdWords. Google’s AdWords program (working in partnership with PharmacyChecker.com)…

28 Mar: Why is Big Pharma afraid of comparative effectiveness research?

President Obama’s economic stimulus plan includes funding for “comparative effectiveness research,” which would study various prescription drugs, along with medical treatments and devices, to determine which perform best for the least amount of money. As the Washington Post describes the program: What’s best for insomnia — Lunesta, at about $6 a pill, or Zolpidem, at $2? Should a man with prostate cancer choose radiation, surgery or “watchful waiting”? Is it better to operate on a bad knee or get an injection of the joint fluid known as Visco. To help doctors and patients decide, President Obama has dedicated $1.1 billion in the economic stimulus package for federal agencies to oversee studies on the merits of competing medical treatments. The approach,…

24 Mar: Are mail-order prescriptions needed for employer-based health plans?

We wrote recently about the rapidly growing business of mail-order pharmacies run by the pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) who work with employer-based insurance providers. It’s been a trend with no small hint of irony. You see, when Canadian mail-order pharmacies came on the scene in the 90s, representatives of Big Insurance and Big Pharma trashed the whole idea of the mail-order pharmacy. They said it was unwise — even dangerous — to order drugs without having face-to-face contact with your pharmacist. They said your relationship with your pharmacist was just as important as the one you have with your doctor. All that would be lost, they said, if you ordered from an online pharmacy. Of course, now that they’ve figured…

23 Mar: Bill Clinton’s prescriptions for high drug costs

Dr. Sanjay Gupta recently sat in for Larry King and had former president Bill Clinton as his guest. Clinton had some interesting things to say about the problem of high drug costs — driving home the point that our current system of corporate welfare for Big Pharma just isn’t working. Here are some excerpts of Clinton’s remarks, which I’ve organized by talking point: Americans Pay More for Less The McKenzie Study done a couple of years ago said that we pay $66 billion a year more for medicine and that at least our older populations consume relatively less per capita than other wealthy countries. Our Government Is Subsidizing Big Pharma We have made a bargain with our pharmaceutical companies. We’ve…

19 Mar: Why brand-name drugs are cheaper in Canada, but generic drugs aren’t

We are sometimes asked why we include a number of U.S.-based pharmacies in the eDrugSearch.com pharmacy directory, since prescription drugs are so much cheaper at Canadian pharmacies. One of the main reasons is that U.S. pharmacies often sell generic drugs at lower prices than their Canadian counterparts. A new study by the Fraser Institute, “Canada’s Drug Price Paradox,” compares Canadian and American drug prices for the 100 most commonly prescribed brand-name drugs, as well as the 100 most commonly prescribed generic drugs. The study found that while brand-name drugs are much more expensive in the United States, generic drugs cost more in Canada. After currency adjustments, Canadian retail drug prices for brand-name drugs in 2007 averaged 53 percent lower than…

05 Mar: Wyeth v Levine Ruling Signals The Tide is Turning Against Big Pharma

For nearly three decades, it’s seemed like everything — at least when it comes to government decision-making — has gone Big Pharma’s way. For example: The U.S. government permitted Big Pharma to begin advertising directly to consumers, despite the fact that this practice is prohibited worldwide (except in New Zealand). The billions of dollars spent on advertising has led to a dramatic increase in prescription drug consumption — including by teens who steal drugs like Viagra out of the family medicine cabinet after hearing how cool they are, ad nauseum, in TV ads. The government slashed the FDA’s staff by a third during the Bush administration (after significant cuts in the Reagan administration) and allowed Big Pharma lobbyists to wield…

04 Mar: Why do Americans pay so much more for prescription drugs?

Boy, Big Pharma is good. They repeat the same story again and again and pretty soon the media is repeating it again and again, too. Forget digging, researching, checking for yourself — none of the conventional techniques of journalism seem to be powerful enough to withstand Big Pharma’s daily drip-drip-drip propaganda stream. Of course, it doesn’t help that Big Pharma’s bought-and-paid-for Washington politicians have been taught to spout the same fictions as well. On the issue of the safety of buying drugs from Canadian pharmacies, the clear and indisputable facts are (1) Canada’s drug approval standards are as good, if not better, than those of the United States, and (2) no American has ever been harmed by ordering drugs online…

02 Mar: Personal Drug Importation and Obama’s healthcare plan

For the first time in memory, Big Pharma actually appears to be shaking in its boots with the announcement of healthcare provisions in President Obama’s budget — including allowing U.S. consumers to purchase drugs from Canada. The AP reported it this way: Stock prices for major drugmakers fell sharply Thursday as investors were apparently worried about provisions of President Obama’s budget proposal that could significantly reduce profits across the pharmaceutical sector… One item in the budget that spooked shareholders was support for “new efforts” by the Food and Drug Administration to allow Americans to “buy safe and effective drugs from other countries.” During the Bush administration, the FDA opposed the idea and frequently stated that such “reimported” drugs might be…

24 Feb: Big business loves mail-order pharmacies when it can make a buck.

You might find it interesting that — with the economy seemingly crumbling around us — one line of business is doing very well indeed: mail-order pharmacies. Medco Health Solutions Inc., the nation’s largest pharmacy-benefits manager (PBM), posted a 32 percent rise in fourth-quarter profits today — largely on the growth in the number of prescriptions filled by mail order. Working with employer-based insurance providers, Medco fulfills more mail-order prescriptions than any other company in the United States. If you have employer-based insurance, it’s likely that your insurance company is now working with a PBM like Medco — and is encouraging you to use them. For the consumer, it can be a good thing — because PBMs have the bargaining power…

17 Feb: Americans spend more on healthcare than education and entertainment.

Scientific American has published an article examining the problem of high prescription drug costs as well as proposed solutions. Some salient stats referenced in the article: American households annually spend more money on health care than on education and entertainment combined. American households spend more than $200 billion on prescription drugs each year. 45 million Americans, including eight million children, do not have health insurance. Free drug samples are generally given to those who already have health insurance — not to those who need them most. 41 percent of Americans report at least some difficulty in paying drug bills. 30 percent of Americans reported that they did not fill prescriptions because of the cost. Here are a couple of the…

16 Feb: It’s time to end corporate welfare for prescription drug companies

I found this wonderful letter by Carrol L. Fry in the Kansas City Star and wanted to share it with all of you. It’s in response to a syndicated column by a typically out-of-touch Washington pundit. I read George Will’s hand-wringing column about the imminent demise of Medicare (2/7, Opinion, “Obama willing, Congress weak on entitlements”). Maybe if our government were willing to curb corporate welfare for the prescription drug companies, we could save a few billion. I was shocked to find that my Medicare Plan D cost for one of my prescriptions, for both my co-pay and Medicare, was $392 for a 90-day supply, and another was $265 for 90 days. I checked prices at a Canadian pharmacy and…

05 Feb: Study: Medicare coverage gap is forcing seniors to skip their meds

We’ve written here frequently about the “doughnut hole” in Medicare Part D. This is a coverage gap that, in 2009, requires seniors to begin paying full price for their prescription drugs if they exceed $2,700 in total drug costs. Contrary to what many seniors believe, the $2,700 isn’t based on out-of-pocket expenditures, but the total cost of their drugs, including the covered portion. So a senior will typically pay less than $1,000 out of pocket before hitting the coverage gap. And here’s where the doughnut hole becomes a chasm. Coverage doesn’t kick in again until the senior has paid a whopping $4,350 out of pocket. About a quarter of Medicare Part D enrollees — more than six million seniors —…

16 Dec: Pfizer-funded study: Lower prescription drug prices could kill you

It’s no secret that Americans pay far more for prescription drugs than consumers in any other country in the developed world. Most European countries impose price controls on Big Pharma that keep their prescription drug prices to less than two-thirds of what Americans pay. Obviously, Big Pharma doesn’t want that happening here — which may help to explain why Pfizer has funded a new Rand Corporation study saying that lowering drug prices through price controls would have horrific consequences for Americans. How horrific? It would actually reduce the length of your life! As Reuters reports: Imposing European-style price controls on prescription drugs in the United States would result in modest cost savings that would be more than offset by shortened…

03 Dec: Q&A with Dr. Peter Rost, eDrugSearch.com’s choice for FDA commissioner

It should come as no surprise to readers of this blog that we are delighted about the prospect of a new FDA commissioner in 2009 — one who we hope will put the interests of the people above those of large pharmaceutical companies. We have also been pleasantly surprised to see the groundswell of public support for Pfizer whistleblower Dr. Peter Rost for the FDA’s top job. A clear industry outsider like Dr. Rost might seem a longshot to ultimately win the job — but then again, Obama was a longshot to win the presidency. And there are these three hopeful signs: 1. Dr. Rost is blowing away the competition in the voting at John Mack’s influential Pharma Marketing Blog….

06 Nov: Was Tom Cruise right about antidepressants?

A couple of years ago, actor Tom Cruise was dismissed as a kook for ranting against antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs. But in light of what we’re now learning about SSRIs, is it possible that we collectively owe Cruise an apology? First, let me say that I still think Cruise is an odd guy. And I know that his bashing of SSRIs is not rooted in scientific research, but in the strange tenets of Scientology — including an irrational hatred of the field of psychiatry. Second, I strongly believe that antidepressants can help people. I’ve seen their positive effects on people personally. But I also believe the FDA should take further steps to ensure the safety of these medications, and…

04 Nov: Wyeth v. Levine update

  From the Wall Street Journal Law Blog: After the arguments wrapped up in Wyeth v. Levine…we called around and spoke to a couple lawyers who were present at the scene. Based on those convos, and an AP report, we were able to cobble together an overview of the back-and-forthing… …the Justices took issue with Wyeth’s argument that it couldn’t update its label to add stronger warnings without first getting FDA approval. “Wyeth could have gone back to the FDA anytime” to update the label, said Justice Souter. “And it simply didn’t do it.” But Seth Waxman, who argued the case for Wyeth, argued … that, when the FDA has specifically considered the risk involved and rejected the sort of…

22 Oct: Have high-priced prescription drugs jumped the shark?

Call it wishful thinking — but check out this data from IMS Health, which shows that the use of prescription drugs is on pace to decline in the United States in 2008 after a decade of growth: The New York Times blames the trend on high drug prices combined with a bad economy. It reports that the implications are not good — If enough people try to save money by forgoing drugs, controllable conditions could escalate into major medical problems. That could eventually raise the nation’s total health care bill and lower the nation’s standard of living. Martin Schwarzenberger, a 56-year-old accounting manager for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, is stretching out his prescriptions. Mr. Schwarzenberger,…

10 Oct: ABC News: Beware of prescription savings clubs

There are a number of good, money-saving prescription drug card programs out there, which eDrugSearch.com will tell you about in our upcoming e-book. But there are also some scams out there — which ABC investigated in this report. An excerpt: More than 45 million Americans do not have prescription drug insurance. And some have turned to online prescription drug service companies that offer help getting prescription drugs inexpensively in exchange for a fee. Online companies promoting cheap prescription drugs may be misleading… Without insurance, Andrea [Melnick] was left to try and get pricey epilepsy medications, which cost up to $800 a month, on her own. Andrea looked for help online and found a company called Select Care Benefits Network. “It…

03 Oct: Sometimes it’s good to count our blessings

  I don’t believe any nation — even one as great as the United States — should ever rest on its laurels. For this reason, I shout from the rooftops about the changes that I believe we need to make as a country, particularly when it comes improving our healthcare system. I believe that is the duty of every citizen. If you read this blog regularly, you know my story. I am suspicious of the motives and actions of large pharmaceutical companies. I am concerned that our government is not doing enough to protect us from corporate influence that leads to unsafe drugs being OKed by the government, skyrocketing prices for brand-name medications, and a lack of competition among drug…

01 Oct: A hero to all of us — except Big Pharma

I think the best story I read on Monday’s $425 million Cephalon settlement was the law firm Phillips & Cohen’s press release: The government’s investigation into Cephalon Inc.’s illegal marketing practices that culminated in today’s $425,000,000 settlement and guilty plea by the pharmaceutical company began in January 2003 with a Cephalon sales representative in Ohio. The sales representative, Bruce Boise, refused to follow company-ordered sales strategies to convince doctors to prescribe Cephalon’s Actiq, Gabitril and Provigil drugs for unapproved (“off-label’) uses because he was worried the sales practices were illegal and the “off-label” uses were dangerous for patients. Boise was so concerned about Cephalon’s off-label marketing that he contacted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to inform them of what…

29 Sep: Obama and McCain the Flying Wallendas of prescription drug flip-flops?

Can you hear that? It’s the sound of political spinning, twirling and flip-flopping — followed closely by backbones turning to mush. In the face of a relentless disinformation campaign (and lots of campaign donations) by the pharmaceutical industry and its front groups over the past several months, both Barack Obama and John McCain are showing strong signs of backing down — in unison — from their pledges to legalize Canadian drug reimportation if they are elected. Call them the Flying Wallendas of Flip-Flops. For guys who claim to be about change — with McCain having the nerve to boast that he “took on the drug industry” in his campaign ads — they are beginning to spew the same old song…

10 Sep: New McCain commercial: “He took on the drug industry”

Some specific supporting examples provided in a press release: In 2004, John McCain Co-Sponsored Bipartisan Drug Reimportation Legislation. “At a press conference today, Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) introduced breakthrough bipartisan, consensus prescription drug reimportation legislation, the Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act, with Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), John McCain (R-AZ), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Trent Lott (R-MS) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).” (Sen. Olympia Snowe, Press Release, 4/21/04) A John McCain Bill To Make It Easier For Cheap Generic Drugs To Come Onto The Market Drew “Strong Opposition From The Pharmaceutical Industry.” “The most public front was active last week, with the Senate passing a bill intended to make it easier for cheap generic drugs to come…

09 Sep: How CanadaDrugs.com dispenses prescription drugs

When you’re on the right side of an argument, people with a vested interest in defeating you will try almost anything to win. So it is with the big-money opponents of Canadian drug reimportation, who have been pulling out all the stops to convince Americans that buying medications from properly licensed Canadian pharmacies is unsafe. The No.1 tactic that Big Pharma-backed groups are currently using is to employ clever rhetoric to lump licensed Canadian pharmacies in with dangerous rogue pharmacies — criminal organizations that operate in the shadows. We’ve obviously written on this topic before, but over the weekend it hit close to home — as John Horton, former Bush White House aide and founder of a Web site called…

Rogue Online Pharmacies - LegitScripts.com

05 Sep: Are All Canadian Pharmacies “Rogue” Online Pharmacies? LegitScript Thinks So.

While reading Benjamin Gluck’s Internet Pharmacy Law blog, I came across a reference to an “Internet pharmacy verification and information service” I hadn’t yet heard of: LegitScript. I like the professed mission of LegitScript: to improve online pharmacy safety by offering a database that allows consumers to enter a pharmacy’s name and find out whether it’s legitimate or not. LegitScript apparently intends to make money by providing a verification seal to online pharmacies that meet its standards. I say “apparently” because LegitScript verification is currently provided free of charge. All of which sounds fine — until you look a little closer. You see, LegitScript claims ALL Canadian pharmacies are unsafe. Even the most established, reputable pharmacies — licensed and inspected…

01 Sep: Big Pharma’s $3 billion on advertising is a waste of YOUR money

Americans are known for our short memories, so it may surprise you to know that prescription drug ads aimed at consumers are a relatively new phenomenon. They’ve only been around in present form for a little over a decade, when the FDA, under pressure from the pharmaceutical industry, approved the practice. Now, it’s hard to watch TV or pick up a magazine without seeing a drug commercial. You might also be unaware that the U.S. is one of only two countries in the world that permit this kind of advertising. The other is New Zealand. There are a number of reasons why most doctors and health experts think direct-to-consumer advertising is a bad idea. Here are a few: Prescription drugs…

27 Aug: Forbes throws out the baby with the bath water

The first six words of Andy Greenberg’s Tuesday story in Forbes are about all I needed to read: “In the shady world of online pharmacies…” Oh boy — here we go again. Hey, I know there are a lot of rogue pharmacies out there. That’s why I started eDrugSearch.com — to help people avoid rogue online pharmacies. But there are licensed, legitimate online pharmacies out there, too — and it’s not fair to consumers to scare them away from the Internet as an avenue for purchasing prescription drugs. If you know what you’re doing, it’s relatively easy to be safe when you buy prescription drugs online. Here are two ways: 1. Use eDrugSearch.com, which only permits prescreened, licensed online and…