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 ...

Read more...

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 This year, a new FDA draft guidance discusses considering biomarker data and changing cognitive evaluations for accelerated approvals.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 ...

Read more...

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 ...

Read more...

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 ...

Read more...

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 ...

Read more...

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 ...

Read more...

Drug costs in the U.S. are higher than in in any other industrialized country in the world. Our cost for an insulin glargine (long-acting insulin) pen is $76.80 and in Canada, so very few miles away, it costs $19.60. The latter price is reasonable. The former price can make the difference between being able to afford a life-saving drug and dying. It is illegal, however, for a U.S. citizen to ...

Read more...

As physicians, we are experts at prescribing medications. However, we often fail miserably when it comes to recognizing adverse reactions and tapering medications. It’s something that is simply lacking in our medical training. I have become a victim of this with benzodiazepines, as I detailed in a prior blog post. Benzodiazepines, in particular, are very difficult drugs to taper. I would like to share with you ...

Read more...

The costs of many generic drugs have skyrocketed. In some cases, the price of a single pill has increased over 500 percent. But help may be on the way. Recently several large and respected non-profit hospital systems indicated that they will "fire a shot across the bow" of the generic drug business. That would be a game-changer. Why has the price of generics skyrocketed? Some large drug companies have purchased ...

Read more...

Meet Johnathan, a 34-year-old male from rural Georgia we recently treated for back pain as a result of some extra contractor work he took on over the holidays.  We see patients like him every 11 minutes, which doesn’t leave much time to get beyond Johnathan’s chief complaint.  He leaves with his first prescription for opioids. *** Of the 91 Americans taken each day, Georgia now claims
Read more...

Join 145,000+ subscribers

Get the best of KevinMD in your inbox

Sign me up! It's free. 
close-link
✓ Join 145,000+ subscribers 
✓ Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories
Subscribe. It's free.
close-image