drug safety

Prescription and OTC Drug Abuse – The New Epidemic

31 Dec: Prescription and OTC Drug Abuse – The New Epidemic

The emerging and insidious epidemic Americans should be worried about is not Ebola; it is prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drug abuse and it’s running rampant throughout the U.S. It is something that we all wish wasn’t a reality, but unfortunately it is and we can’t turn a blind eye. Prescription drug abuse is defined by the NIH: National Institute on Drug Abuse as taking any medication is a way other than the way the doctor has prescribed. The NIH: National Institute on Drug Abuse also states that prescription and OTC drugs are the most sought after drugs after alcohol and marijuana by Americans aged 14 and older. This abuse includes taking medication that has been prescribed for someone else, taking…

Iodine - A Gorgeous New Website for Drug Information

01 Oct: Iodine – A Gorgeous New Website for Drug Information

What Target Did for Rx Bottles, Iodine Does for Organizing Drug Data The world of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can seem big and scary. Whenever a person needs medication for a disease, disorder, or other condition many questions come up. What are the drug options? What are the potential side effects? How much does it cost? Are there less expensive generic alternatives? How does the drug really impact people in their day-to-day lives? Fortunately, the power of the internet has once again made it possible for people to educate themselves and learn from each other. There is a new drug database called Iodine (www.iodine.com) that offers users a beautiful and interactive way to view data on the prescription and OTC medications, allowing…

Why Mail Order Pharmacies Are On The Rise

29 Jan: Why Mail Order Pharmacies Are On The Rise

With the abundance of online and mail-in pharmacies in the marketplace today, many people are considering whether it’s a good idea to switch out of their traditional pharmacy routine. Online pharmacies can present several benefits for users, and this article addresses some of the biggest questions and concerns that users have when making this transition. Are Mail Order Pharmacies a Good Idea? A mail order pharmacy is a perfectly good substitute for an in person pharmacy, and it has some benefits over other types of pharmacies. They can certainly save time, as trips to the pharmacy are not needed. Individuals can set up a routine, where payments are processed and medications sent at the same time each month. Because they…

20 May: FDA has to become more transparent on prescription drug recalls

I read the following disturbing Q&A in Joe and Teresa Graedon’s People’s Pharmacy column this morning: Q: I once worked for a pharmaceutical company that ordered a raw ingredient, diphen-hydramine, from China. I was a quality-assurance inspector and had to inspect incoming material. That ingredient was trashy, with what looked like a lot of floor sweepings and black blobs of something I could not identify. I placed all of that shipment on reject. I came in to work the next day and was told by the boss that he had authorized the release of that ingredient to be used in production! When I left work later that day, I called the Food and Drug Administration and reported the whole thing….

23 Jul: Florida Times-Union credits eDrugSearch.com in editorial

The Florida Times-Union, the newspaper of Jacksonville, FL, published an editorial today headlined, “Internet Pharmacies: A prescription for death.” We’re not crazy about that headline, as you might imagine. We’ve worked very hard to get the news media to distinguish legitimate, licensed Canadian pharmacies from dangerous, rogue online pharmacies in their coverage. But you know how it is. In any case, we were pleased that the Times-Union’s editorial used one of our blog posts to illustrate the seriousness of the problem of prescription drug abuse. The relevant excerpt: Most people know that Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe both died from an overdose of prescription drugs. Judy Garland also succumbed to a prescription drug overdose – as did Howard Hughes and…

01 Oct: Insurance companies dropping prescription drug coverage

Elaine Moore writes, With the increasing costs of specialized drugs, some insurance companies are refusing to pay for drugs prescribed for off-label conditions … Health policy analysts caution that the benefits off-label drugs offer in conditions for which other drugs have failed will be seriously compromised by these new insurance regulations. Furthermore, off-label drugs such as naltrexone, which is relatively inexpensive at less than $100 per month, would be put in the same (unapproved for payment) category as Genetech’s Avastin (bevacizumab), which typically costs $4,400 per month. Avastin is approved for lung and colorectal cancers, but not for brain tumors because of limited evidence validating efficacy despite promising results in patients.

12 Sep: Drug safety: No more excuses

If you’re like me, you’ve had it with the FDA’s lax enforcement of Big Pharma on safety issues. It’s time to write your Congressperson about it: U.S.PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), has put together an online petition for you to sign. The petition states: Dear Chairman Edward Kennedy, Chairman John Dingell, Ranking Member Michael Enzi, Ranking Member Joe Barton: Please include in the final FDA reform bill the strongest drug safety language possible. This will protect consumers from dangerous and deadly prescription drugs such as Vioxx. The final bill should contain the House language to publicize clinical studies conducted on drugs so that doctors, researchers and patients know of potentially harmful side effects. It should…

08 Aug: Federal appeals court won’t make drug-rule exception for the dying.

From the LA Times: Dying people do not have the right to obtain unapproved drugs that are potentially lifesaving, even if their doctors say the treatment offers the best hope for survival, a U.S. appeals court in Washington ruled Tuesday. In an 8-2 decision, the court said federal drug regulators are entrusted by law with deciding when new drugs are safe for wide use. Food and Drug Administration approval of drugs generally requires testing that can involve years of trials and thousands of patients. The families of terminally ill patients, several of whom died after they were denied promising drugs still being tested, filed the lawsuit. They said dying patients were far more willing to take risks and should not…

07 Aug: Half of U.S. pharmacies no habla Espanol

From HealthDay News: Nearly half of America’s pharmacies are unable to communicate with, or provide information to, non-English-speaking clients. That means as many as 168 million of the 4 billion prescriptions written each year could be going to patients who aren’t able to fully understand the information provided, putting them at risk of potentially harmful medication errors, a new study finds… The research, published in the August issue of Pediatrics, was led by Dr. Glenn Flores, professor of pediatrics and public health at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas… Of the 128 pharmacies that responded to the survey, 53 percent could mostly or always provide non-English-language prescription labels; 46 percent could mostly or always provide non-English-language information…

26 Jul: Another reason patients die in a “me”-based healthcare system

Maggie Mahar, author of Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much, argues at TPMCafe that our “me”-oriented healthcare system makes it difficult to permit terminal patients to purchase potentially life-saving drugs that have not yet been approved by the FDA. Writes Mahar: A recent study shows that fully 42% of the products that make it to the third, and final phase of FDA trials ultimately fail because they prove ineffective and/or unsafe. How do so many lemons get so far? The study suggests that once a drug company has invested a certain amount of money “and reserachers have invested a certain amount of time and ego” it becomes difficult to admit failure. Moreover, as long as investors…

25 Jul: OxyContin verdict: What have the feds been snorting all these years?

From the AP: Purdue Pharma L.P., the maker of OxyContin, and three of its executives were ordered Friday to pay a $634.5 million fine for misleading the public about the painkiller’s risk of addiction … U.S. District Judge James Jones levied the fine on Purdue, its top lawyer and former president and former chief medical officer after a hearing that lasted about three-and-a-half hours … Designed to be swallowed whole and digested over 12 hours, the pills can produce a heroin-like high if crushed and then swallowed, snorted or injected. It took the feds this long to finally put 2 + 2 together? From 1996 to 2001, the number of oxycodone-related deaths nationwide quintupled. In 2002, the DEA stated the…

20 Jul: Older diabetes drugs are cheaper, effective and have fewer side effects

It appears someone finally decided to take a look at the effectiveness and benefits of older diabetes drugs (such as metformin) compared with newer, more expensive ones (such as Avandia). Dr. Shari Bolen of Johns Hopkins University studied various medical databases and found 216 relevant studies and two systematic reviews. According to Reuters: Older drugs controlled blood sugar levels about as well as the thiazolidinediones [Avandia] did. There were some differences, however, in other effects. Thiazolidinediones were the only drugs that increased HDL “good” cholesterol levels, but they also increased LDL “bad” cholesterol levels. Metformin reduced LDL cholesterol levels, while the other agents appeared to have no effect on cholesterol levels. With the exception of metformin, the drugs generally increased…