Most physicians are increasingly forced to grapple with the problem of shortages in generic drugs. These are drugs for which the patent has expired and any company can make them. Certainly for those of us in the PICU it is a chronic problem because the majority of drugs we use are injectable medications that have been generic for many years. Hardly a week goes by I don’t receive a notification ...

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According to Bloomberg, Americans spend more on prescription drugs per year than any other country in the world at around $1,100 per person. Additionally, the CDC reports that four out of five new heroin users started their addiction by using prescription opioid painkillers like hydrocodone or oxycodone. And we know from the Partnership for a Drug-free America that ...

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42,000. That’s the number of CDC reported overdose deaths in 2016 due to opioids. Ten percent. That’s the percentage of the estimated 2.1 million opioid substance abusers receiving treatment help and even fewer afforded medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for their struggles. Three percent or around 40,000. That’s the number of physicians out of a total of 1.3 million across the U.S. qualified by ...

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A meme forwarded to me last year showed a chimp with the caption: “Monkey trained to dispense Z-Paks at urgent care.” As one of the medical directors for a multi-office urgent care practice, one of the tasks is performing a chart review. One of the patterns we see too often is ubiquitous Z-Pak prescriptions for purported cough, sore throat, sinusitis and even an allergic rhinitis this last batch. Z-Paks are one ...

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President Trump recently unveiled a plan to, “Bring soaring drug prices back down to earth.” Acknowledging that the current system is broken, with drug prices beyond the reach of many patients, the President’s plan targets drug patents, pharmacy benefits managers, and drug pricing negotiated by foreign countries. Yet he misses one of the big elephants in the room, the fact that here in the U.S, Medicare is forbidden to negotiate what ...

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Dementia patients want effective drugs. Five years ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed changes to speed drug approvals for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). No new drugs have been approved. This year, a new FDA draft guidance discusses considering biomarker data and changing cognitive evaluations for accelerated approvals. Would that help make effective drugs available, or are we lowering our expectations? Numerous dementia agents have failed current ...

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In 1994, Penguin Books published what would become a national bestseller titled, Listening to Prozac written by Dr. Peter Kramer, a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Brown University at the time. Throughout the book, he debates the ethics of "cosmetic pharmacology" a term associated with the transformation of personality traits through medication. Kramer describes several patients as becoming “better than well” on Prozac -- more socially adept, less inhibited, and ...

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While our elected officials in Washington spin political rhetoric and quote scary statistics around the opioid epidemic, New Jersey was one of the first states to take actual action. In February of this year,  New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal declared its plan of combat: a 24-hour response team, improvements to the prescription monitoring program, and over a million dollars in federal grants. In fact, the Office of ...

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Have you ever had a prescription altered? I have, several times — all opioids. Despite making copies of every prescription to prove what I actually wrote for, dealing with everything from patients who threatened to sue me for false accusations to time spent with the DEA was a real pain. The good news is that during the pre "pain as fifth vital sign" era at least — since my prescribing ...

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Tuesday morning. Sarah wakes up at 4 a.m., like every other morning, to go to clinic to get a medicine she cannot function without.  But it’s not as easy as that. She has to take her three small children with her because she is a single parent and has no one else to stay at home with them.  She does this six days a week. This is her life. This is the reality of ...

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