Estrogen therapy and breast cancer: The pharmacist said no It’s not often that I find myself speechless. I have heard all sorts of stories in my office -- as a sexuality counselor, I am often humbled by the trust that people place in me and how much they disclose about their private lives. But one conversation I had with a patient literally made my jaw drop. The patient is a ...

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One thousand dollars per pill? A single treatment course for hepatitis C virus to cost $83,000? How can those prices be justified? The drug-discovery process is a long one, fraught with disappointments and massive investment, no matter what the outcome. Some pharmaceutical companies argue that the high prices charged for their rare “blockbuster” drugs help them recover research and development costs. While drug pricing and drug access are contentious and controversial issues -- ones ...

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“Doctor, what do you think of alternative medicine?” a patient with chronic fatigue syndrome asked me the other day. She was interested in doing something more for her severe fatigue. “Would acupuncture help me?” I paused and, as I have done many times before, answered that my training and most of my clinical experience has been in Western, allopathic medicine. (Ironically, the word “allopathic” was first used as a derogatory term ...

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Doing drugs no longer requires a dealer on the street corner. Between the late 1990′s and 2010 sales of narcotic pain medicines quadrupled in the United States. Hydrocodone use increased by 280%, methadone by 1300%, and oxycodone by 900%. As the consumption of these medicines increased, so did ER visits and deaths from overdose -- up by about 500%. A whole lot of these medicines are not going to medical use. And ...

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These days, we hear a lot about the risks of vaccines. As a pediatrician, I talk to many parents who are very frightened about those risks -- and some choose not to vaccinate because of their fear. Some of the risks we hear about are real, but some of them aren't. I absolutely support the right of every parent to make what they feel is the best decision for their child. The ...

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My brother and I, both optometrists, had a heart-to-heart discussion about the loss of one of our patients. We discovered he was not taking his medications as prescribed, which was leading to vision loss. When pressed, the patient said he had a choice of eating, supporting his family, or purchasing his medication. He was under the impression that the $150 price for his generic Lipitor was “about the same” at any ...

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Check out the prices for nebulizer solutions of albuterol and budesonide (generic Pulmicort). They are totally affordable. $4 for a month for albuterol. $14 for a month for budesonide respules. Pulmicort respules used to be very expensive. Now even the branded budesonide is  less than 10% of a monthly cable bill. Then check out the prices of inhaled steroids delivered through meter dose inhaler (MDI) or dry powder inhaler (DPI). These ...

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I must not be the only person to wonder how pharmaceutical companies succeed with direct to consumer advertisements when, stuck in the middle of all their TV ads, are those long lists of side effects.  You know what I mean.  After watching a smiling and attractive person running through a field after receiving some wonder pill, the narrator tucks his voice down an octave and intones that the medication “could ...

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It is clear that patient compliance with prescribed medications is critical to success in the treatment of any chronic disease process.  In addition, patient engagement and co-management of their disease has been proven to improve outcomes.  A new study from the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that any changes in the appearance of a medication may result in a decrease in compliance; when a pill looks differently patients often simply ...

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There are several different scenarios that I can think of in the past four years of pharmacy school that exhibit the high cost of prescription health care.  Prescription medications are constantly becoming more expensive.  Patients are unaware of their prescription benefits and how prescription insurance works.  It leads to a lot of frustration for pharmacies and patients on a daily basis.  However, every now and then there is something that ...

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