Change is coming to drug pricing, whether it’s painful or not

  • Some pharma companies have seemingly defied the emphasis on drug costs by raising drug prices.
  • Change is coming to prescription drug pricing, whether it’s painful or not for pharmaceutical companies,” Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said in a speech Monday at a health policy conference.
  • “The drug companies that recently increased prices will be remembered for creating a tipping point in U.S. drug pricing policy,” Azar said.
  • Drug prices were raised because Wall Street is their primary customer, not patients.

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TeleHealth bust or the future?

  • 82 percent of U.S. consumers do not use telehealth.
  • In 2016, researchers posing as patients turned to 16 different telemedicine apps to diagnose skin issues. The results? Some of the online doctors misdiagnosed conditions like syphilis, others prescribed unnecessary meds, and two of the sites used doctors who aren’t licensed to practice in the state the patient was located.
  • Even in the digital age, a lot of people simply want to see their doctor in person. They’re not Luddites. But sick, vulnerable people often need in-person reassurance from another human being in the room. A smartphone app simply won’t cut it.
  • Still telehealth is going to find a niche.

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Let’s blame drug companies for OUR poor health

  • Physical inactivity is a primary cause of most chronic diseases.
  • Population levels of physical activity, inadequate to meet current guidelines can place a health burden on the U.S. population that results in higher health care expenditures.
  • Regular physical activity is associated with important health benefits, including reduced risk for premature death, cardiovas­cular disease, ischemic stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancers, and depression.
  • A study of one million people has found that physical inactivity costs the global economy $67.5 billion a year in healthcare and productivity losses, but an hour a day of exercise could eliminate most of that.
  • Just 23% of US adults get enough exercise, CDC reports

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The public is not informed about drug pricing

  • On May 11, 2018, President Trump announced his plan titled, “American Patients First,” an effort aimed at lowering the price of prescription drugs.
  • One key element of this plan is to require drug manufacturers to publish list prices for their prescription drugs in television advertisements.
  • Three-fourths (76 percent) of the public favor the federal government requiring prescription drug advertisements to include a statement about how much the drug costs.
  • In a rare instance of bipartisanship, this policy proposal is supported by a majority of Democrats (83 percent), independents (73 percent) and Republicans (72 percent)

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Opioid addiction starts with a prescriber’s pen

  • The opioid crisis is extremely complex and that a single, simple cause cannot be identified
  • Purdue pharma has to carry the majority of the blame for the opioid crisis, but others are also to blame.
  • Physicians should have known that ANY opioid is addictive and PBM’s should have alerted the FDA and DEA to high volumes of the painkillers being ordered by local pharmacies.
  • Psychology Today says “pressure from patients, is likely to also be part of the motivation for unnecessary or excessive opioid prescribing”.

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Should your doctor tell you to lose weight?

  • The total costs in the U.S. for direct health care treatment for chronic health conditions totaled $1.1 trillion in 2016—equivalent to 5.8 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

    Chronic diseases also lead to indirect costs—defined as lost income and reduced economic productivity—for the individuals suffering from the conditions, their family caregivers, and the overall economy.

    In 2016, diseases caused by obesity and being overweight accounted for 47.1 percent of the total cost of chronic diseases in the U.S.— responsible for $480.7 billion in direct health care costs, plus $1.24 trillion in indirect costs related to lost economic productivity.

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