Prostate Cancer Drugs

prostate cancerThere are new drugs on the horizon – new prostate cancer drugs. There are two things that make them remarkable. For one thing, they can actually make life far easier for men in very advanced stages of prostate cancer. They help arrest the disease so well that people in this state can actually expect to live longer. The other remarkable thing about them is how much they cost. Each prostate cancer patient can expect to spend a half-million dollars for the full course. When they actually become available, it is estimated that they’ll earn billions of dollars for the pharmaceutical companies that make them.

These drugs, with names like Zytiga and Provenge really are coming; the FDA has already approved these. According to Savannah urology experts, at no time in the past has treatment for prostate cancer had this much hope. And perhaps, at no time have things looked so rosy for the drug companies. Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi, two drug companies behind these drugs are looking forward to a billion dollars in sales each.

Granted, these new products do things that older prostate cancer drugs never could accomplish; they can take a person for whom hormone therapy has completely failed and whose cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland, and they can not only arrest the progress of the disease, they can take the pain away. But at what cost?

Using the old prostate cancer drugs like Docetaxel, a person suffering from advanced prostate cancer could have this life extended by about a year or so. With these new drugs, such a person could expect to live an additional year. Since most people with prostate cancer are on Medicare, one wonders how the government is going to afford hundreds of thousands of dollars for each patient.

Concerned with the cost of these new drugs, Medicare has just completed a study into them and allowed that it will pay for them. But there will be rationing. They will only allow prescriptions that are strictly according to label. The same goes for private insurers as well.

So why exactly are these drugs this expensive? Were they really that expensive to develop or are they expensive to manufacture? The reason the drugs are expensive is that drug companies are opportunistic, trying to hold 30,000 Americans who die of prostate cancer every year to ransom. For instance, the drug company Algeta and its partner, the German chemicals giant Bayer, at first decided to sell Alphadrin, their version of the drug, for $25,000 a course. But then they found out that another drug company was selling their version, called Jevtana, for $50,000 of course. And right away, they decided to jack their prices up to match.

Posted by doctor in Prostate Cancer Drugs

Pill Identification

Pill Identification

Pill Identification

Prescription drugs are very important to those with medical conditions. Some would not be alive without some of the pills that they take each day. Others will help with many things that are unwanted as well. There are pills that prevent pregnancy, and some that help someone stay healthy when their bodies may be deficient in some important way. There are also many over the counter drugs that people need to use all of the time, and they have many great functions as well. If you take any type of drug, you have to know about pill identification to be sure you remain safe.

If you take over the counter drugs for things like headache or body aches, you don’t have to worry about pill identification much if you buy your own. However, if someone hands you something to take for your headache, you had better be sure you are getting what you think you are getting. Though many will not give you the wrong pills on purpose, this is something that can happen. They could accidentally give you a prescription that could harm you, or give you something that has nothing to do with your problem. If you can identify the pills, you will know if you can take or if you should throw out.

Pill identification comes in real handy if you are taking prescription drugs. If you are not sure what your drug should look like, you should make sure you find out. You may get your prescriptions mixed up, or the pharmacy may make a mistake and give you the wrong thing. This could lead to big problems. If you can identify your pills, you won’t take something that can harm you. Some like to order their drugs online, and there are times when they are not getting what they ordered. If they know what their pills should look like, they will know not to take something that is not right.

You should also know a lot about pill identification if you are caring for someone with a medical condition. The last thing you would want to do is to give someone the wrong medication at the wrong time. This could mean the difference between life and death in some cases. Be sure to look up official photos of each of the medications you will be giving so you know you are not going to make a fatal mistake. The same can be said when giving pills to your children as well.

Here are two great websites that you can use to identify the exact drugs you are taking by looking at size, shape, color and markings:

http://www.webmd.com/pill-identification

https://www.drugs.com/imprints.php

Posted by doctor in Pill Identification

Reining in your Prescription Costs

People without medical insurance look at people who do, with envy sometimes. How great it must be to just show up at a hospital when you need to and have everything just taking care of, they feel. Well, perhaps they aren’t familiar with how stingy the medical insurance plans people have can be. More and more these days, employer-sponsored medical insurance plans come with strict restrictions. They ask for higher copayments and more importantly, they have strict restrictions on the kinds of medicines they will allow. Even people who have Medicare Part D have to struggle with prescription costs all the time.

Are there ways to do something about prescription costs? Well, you do become really familiar with your medical insurance policy first.

For instance, check your insurer’s policy about your co-pays for drugs. Usually, if you pick a brand name drug, they’ll ask for twice the co-pay of the generic alternative, especially for urological drugs. For many long-term medications, every insurer has a preferred online pharmacy to go to. Get a three-month supply and you get lower co-pays. Usually, you can get a couple of months of co-pays waived.

If you’re really serious about reining in your prescription costs, you need your doctor and your pharmacist to help you out. Your doctor for instance, can help you pick a course of treatment that just costs less or needs less expensive medication. Your pharmacist can talk to your doctor and tell him about the cheapest and most effective drugs to go with.

Often, over-the-counter medications are cheaper than prescription ones. If there is an over-the-counter variety of drug for your problem, you should talk to doctor about those. In fact, you should ask your pharmacist too. He’s usually in the know for the prescription drugs that are soon to become prescription-free.

Whenever you get a prescription from your doctor or urologist, make sure that you ask about the generic alternatives. You can save 90% or more off the cost of the drug if you go with the generic version. Sometimes, the pill you need is available as a generic, except that it’s only available in larger size. Ask your doctor to be allowed to take half a large sized generic pill instead of the right size pill that’s only available as a brand name.

But even when you do manage to get a generic version, you have to realize that urology and other drugs don’t cost the same everywhere. Make sure that you shop around. At a warehouse club, you could find a drug for $10 and find the very same thing for $150 at a chain pharmacy. And if all else fails, there’s always Canada or Mexico.

Posted by doctor in Prescriptions

Pharmaceutical Industry Ethics

Everyone who needs to buy prescription medicines on a regular basis knows that the pharmaceutical industry is robustly healthy when it comes to profits. Pharmaceutical companies often tout the years of research required to bring a product to market as the reason your 10-day supply of antibiotics sets you back a staggering $200. However, common sense says that a million prescriptions per year at $200 … well, do the math. This is not to say that these medicines have no value. Indeed, they can save your life in some cases.

Pharmaceutical Industry Ethics

The problem arises when you consider that the pharmaceutical industry has a pill for every condition, no matter how minor. There is now a pill for ailments we’d never heard of until the pharmaceutical industry created a remedy for it. In yet other cases, the stated possible side effects of some of these drugs are worse than the condition they are supposed to remedy.

Although it cannot be argued that the pharmaceutical industry has created any of these previously unknown ailments, it does make you wonder about the role of genetically and chemically altered substances that are so common place today.

Who ever heard of ADD 25 years ago? How about Restless Leg Syndrome? Why is it that today, 1 in 150 children are diagnosed as autistic? Fibromyalgia is apparently quite widespread, although unknown just twenty years ago.

As for possible side effects with some of the pharmaceutical industry’s wonder drugs, it’s hard to justify relieving allergies with a medication that, I’m told in hushed tones during the commercial, may cause migraines, vomiting, heart palpitations and even death – in rare cases, of course. Why would I want to rid myself of heartburn and end up with kidney damage? Perhaps we’re all taking too many medicines for our own good.

Within the pharmaceutical industry, the key to profits is patentability. This is why so few of the current magic bullet drugs employ any natural substances as remedies. No patent, no profits – at least not on the scale these corporations are accustomed to enjoying.

Numerous credible exposes have revealed that the pharmaceutical industry employs sales techniques which are less than ethical. Pharmaceutical sales personnel are chosen for salesmanship, not medical knowledge. They are instructed to leave samples of a new drug with doctor’s offices, to be given to patients to try before the doctor issues a prescription. Doctors do not have the time to investigate the merits of every drug that comes into their office. Ultimately, patients request a prescription and a new customer is born, with hefty profits flowing into the coffers.

Although researchers in the pharmaceutical industry have developed some truly life saving drugs, it would be foolish to accept every medication recommended without a fair amount of inquiry regarding its safety. As with all of life, moderation and common sense deserve our consideration.

Posted by doctor in Pharmaceutical Industry

Order Prescriptions

Gone are the days of having to walk into a store, any kind of store, whenever you need something. In fact, since the internet has taken over much of the world, you can practically have anything delivered right to your doorstep. I used to hate standing in line at the drugstore just to order prescriptions. I’d be surrounded by people sneezing and coughing, spreading germs to everyone else standing in line simply because they had to leave the house to get order prescriptions for their ailments.

Thanks to modern technology, you can now order prescriptions online through a large variety of websites. My company recommends that all of its employees use express scripts to order prescriptions and refills. At first, I wasn’t too keen on not dealing with a pharmacist face to face. What if something was messed up? What if I had questions to ask an actual person? Then, I discovered that if I was able to order prescriptions online, I would be saving some money each month. My doctor would write me a script for a 90 day supply and I would only end up paying for a 60 day prescription. That is basically getting a month for free. I was impressed and willing to try it.

My husband and I decided to order prescriptions once, just to see how smoothly it went. Once we got all of the medical information out of the way, it was easy. I received our prescriptions within a few days. Every single detail was correct and there was lots of information on what to do if a mistake was made or if I needed to speak to someone. I felt pretty confident about having done this online. Since that day, I don’t walk into a drug store to order prescriptions unless it is something that I have ordered for short term. Obviously, if I’m sick and need antibiotics, to order online is not ideal. But if you have prescriptions that you take monthly, you just may find that you end up saving some money by choosing to order prescriptions online.

However, not everyone will ever feel comfortable with this concept. There is a great deal of comfort in handing your script to an actual person and having that secure feeling in knowing that someone is handing the correct bottle of pills back to you. I admit, I have to say that I like dealing with people face to face at times. However, when I simply need to pick up a prescription that I need for a monthly basis, I don’t want to stand in line with others who are spreading germs to everyone in sight. I’d much rather walk the 20 feet to my mailbox and find my pills waiting for me.

Posted by doctor in Prescriptions

Research Your Prescription Drugs

With prescription drugs, don’t just rely on the package inserts for your drug information!

It seems that every time you visit your doctor, you leave with a prescription medicine. Perhaps it’s just part of modern medicine, but many physicians prescribe drugs for almost every kind of complaint. If you have chronic conditions which require that you take medications on a regular basis, you can end up with quite a collection.

Although so many of these prescription drugs are highly effective, you can also suffer the consequences of taking two drugs which should not be combined. Busy physicians don’t usually take the time to explain what the drug does, they just hand you the prescription and off you go. When the pharmacy fills your prescription, an insert is included in the bag, which describes possible side effects and warnings. This is valuable prescription drug information, but is not comprehensive. Many people don’t even bother reading them.

Perhaps because there are so many prescription drugs of extremely complex chemical combinations, it’s really essential that you take a hand in making sure you have the drug information you need to keep you safe.

Your pharmacist is your first line of defense. Pharmacists often know more about the drug your doctor has prescribed than the doctor does. You’ll be amazed at the wealth of information they can provide, right off the top of their head. If you have any questions regarding the medication you’ve been given, ask the pharmacist!

Let’s say your dentist has prescribed an antibiotic for an infection that you’re now taking. Now your regular doctor has prescribed something for a different condition. Letting your pharmacist know all of the medications you are currently taking may save you from experiencing a serious health threat. This is a good example of the type of prescription drug information that might otherwise have been overlooked.

Another way to keep you and your family safe and informed is to get one of the prescription drug information books. These are usually pocket sized books, with the information arranged alphabetically. Buy the most up to date reference, which provides entries for the newest drugs. These entries are quite detailed and more comprehensive than the prescription inserts. These books are inexpensive, generally just $4-5, a worthwhile investment in your health.

These suggestions are especially important for people who must take a number of medications, or families with children. Prescription drugs can save your life, true, but improper use or a lack of information can also land you in the hospital. So, take a proactive approach. Don’t simply rely on that insert!

See below video for more info:

Posted by doctor in Drug Research

Pharmaceutical Companies Cost to Develop Patented Drugs

The government for years, has been all about trying to get the top pharmaceutical companies to price their brand-name medicines low enough that more people might be able to afford them. They thought that giving the big companies only a short period of exclusivity on their patents could help; but it didn’t. They tried to negotiate for discounts for the prices of the medicines that senior citizens got through Medicare, but they failed again. The pharmaceutical lobby is a well-heeled one and they always do what they can to defeat anything the government may try to help the average person afford the prices of important drugs. After all, what the government is trying to do could seriously cut down the profits top pharmaceutical companies make – by something like half.

drug companyThe companies try to justify their huge profits with one claim all the time – that they need to be able to fund all the high-tech drug research that they do. Most people tend usually to buy this defense more or less. Except that there is always a little voice in their heads that always says that there is something wrong with this whole picture. As it turns out, they’re right.

So by how much do the top pharmaceutical companies exaggerate their expenses in bringing a new drug to market? A video on the Phrma industry website states that it costs $1 billion to take a chemical compound and turn it into a proper drug. Skeptical studies though find that it takes less than $60 million. That’s quite a stretch – from 60 to 1000 million.

pharma companySo how exactly did that argument about research costs that we have been hearing from the top pharmaceutical companies for about 50 years now even come about in the first place? There are all kinds of “studies” that the top pharmaceutical companies fund on their own coin for some help throwing numbers in your faces. For instance, they funded a study by the Tufts Center. Tufts were grateful enough for the funding and came out with that really wild scientific estimate that it cost $1 billion to bring a drug to market. They say that they looked to see what it cost Pharma companies to bring each one of dozens of drugs to market.

The truth is, that the top pharmaceutical companies don’t spend much on drug development. It’s the government that does; it funds research at government and university labs. Whatever they do spend on research, the pharma companies get tax breaks for – they get such a huge tax break, their costs are cut down by 40%. How about the costs of getting government approval for a drug? The top pharmaceutical companies claim that it takes them 7 1/2 years of clinical trials to get a drug to market; the truth is closer to four years. Anyway, all of this is for the really complex top shelf drugs. For the other simpler ones, the costs are going to be quite low.

And here you are wondering why your medical insurance bills are so high. When everyone involved tries to brush you off telling you that it’s all so technical that you will never understand it, they get to inflate the price of every cotton ball they use.

Posted by doctor in Drug Development

Cholesterol Lowering Drugs for Those With No Cholesterol Problem

cholesterol drugs

Do you know anyone who takes cholesterol-lowering drugs? Chances are they are older people who have problems with their weight and their blood pressure – and oh, that they are people who have tested for high cholesterol. But if you saw someone taking those drugs when they didn’t answer to any of those indications? The government has just approved a major cholesterol drug, Crestor, for use as a preventive in people who are healthy right now, and have no cholesterol-related problems. This does seem a little greedy of the drug makers. Cholesterol-lowering drugs, the ones that belong to the class of medicines known as statins, already sell better than any other drug in the country. And now they have to push it on people who don’t even have a problem yet.

Doctors (the ones who aren’t connected to the company that makes Crestor, presumably) don’t believe this is quite the great idea that it is made out to be. If a person has not much by way of a family history in heart attacks, such a patient could actually come to some harm from taking preventive cholesterol medication. The class of drugs known as Statins is such a bestseller for a good reason – its action on the body helps keep thousands of Americans every year on this side of a heart attack with almost no side effects. It is this quality in the drug – that it’s almost free of side effects – that encourages drug companies to push it as a preventative. And yet, isn’t it a clear case of avarice and callousness that a drug should be promoted that may harm those who have neither a cholesterol problem nor a family history.

As negligible in occurrence as the side effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs are known to be, that opinion is meant to be seen in the context of the risk of cholesterol-related heart problems that patients who are prescribed the drug are usually known to live with. The side effects of the drug are not negligible to a person whose case doesn’t present the context of any kind of risk of a heart problem. Crestor does come with a significant risk of causing diabetes. Now, if you had a major family history of heart disease, you could live with that risk because it would help you live longer. If you’re quite healthy, what exactly do you gain lowering an already low heart disease risk, and raising your risk of diabetes by 10%? This is a drug you’re supposed to be taking to the end of time. Wouldn’t you put yourself at unreasonable levels of risk just on the off-chance that you could have a cholesterol-related problem one day?

And it’s not just the cholesterol-lowering drugs that are being pushed; the blood test they use to determine that you would be a good candidate for the new preventive medication is a pretty dubious customer too. It doesn’t even measure how much cholesterol you have; it just measures a certain kind of suspected effect of that cholesterol – inflammation. The only problem is, no one really knows if inflammation is any measure of how much cholesterol you have. Meanwhile, the major pharmaceutical companies are putting the finishing touches on an advertising blitz to help you get on their moneymaking bandwagon. They really are licking their chops in anticipation – they feel that they are about to get a whole new market of millions of more people, for their drugs .

Even people who take the drug for high cholesterol levels they have, often complain of side effects like muscle aches. And now, they’re going to expose millions of new people to muscle aches too, for no reason. The diabetes problem, as the FDA says, does exist in the preventive cholesterol drug idea; but they want to do nothing more about it than just put it on the label. For the kind of infinitesimally small benefit that you get taking cholesterol-lowering drugs for no reason, you might as well take a vitamin B supplement. Niacin is supposed to help with cholesterol. But that probably won’t be profitable enough a thing to push.

Posted by doctor in Cholesterol Drugs