There’s plenty of of analysis, criticism and praise of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ controversial decision to prevent the “morning after” contraceptive pill Plan B from being sold over the counter at drugstores and to girls under 17 without a prescription. The top question: how much did election-year politics affect the decision?
President Barack Obama, father of two daughters, defended Sebelius today and said he was not involved in her decision. The New York Times quotes him:
The reason Kathleen made this decision is that she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old going to a drug store should be able — alongside bubble gum or batteries — be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could have an adverse effect.
Here’s a roundup of the national conversation so far:
NPR’s Julie Rovner reports today on the angry reactions from women’s health advocates, who note that Sebelius’ reasoning – that young girls might not use the OTC birth control correctly – sets a double standard for birth control. She quotes former assistant FDA commissioner Susan Wood: Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Reporting on Health - Barbara Feder Ostrov's Health Journalism Blog*
Several days ago, the world’s leading cholesterol-lowering “statin” drug, Lipitor, went generic. Doctors are bearing the brunt of the conversion with little information about what the new drug will cost for their patients.
This, of course, is the plan.
Even the Wall Street Journal which has an excellent “user’s guide” to making the switch from name-brand to generic Lipitor offers little help as it mentions “co-pays” rather than actual drug cost:
How much cheaper will generic Lipitor be?
Insurance copayments should drop considerably, if patients are getting Lipitor or atorvastatin on the generic tier of their health plans. Currently, Lipitor has been on a higher, branded tier for prescription drugs. Copays for branded drugs average either $29 or $49 depending on the tier, according to Kaiser Family Foundation. Copays for generics average $10.
In addition, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, one of the generic manufacturers of generic Lipitor, won concessions to maintain elevated prices for 180 days from the government (a la our own Food and Drug Administration while the Federal Trade Commission stands idly by complaining how consumers are gouged with this arrangement) to assure prices stay high a bit longer.
But if we forget the insurers and copays, how much will the generic drug actually cost consumers? Read more »
This underestimates the increased cost by a huge factor…
Remember how Obama recently waived new ozone regulations at the EPA because they were too costly? Well, it seems that the Obama administration would rather make people with Asthma cough up money than let them make a surely inconsequential contribution to depleting the ozone layer:
Asthma patients who rely on over-the-counter inhalers will need to switch to prescription-only alternatives as part of the federal government’s latest attempt to protect the Earth’s atmosphere.
…But the switch to a greener inhaler will cost consumers more. Epinephrine inhalers are available via online retailers for Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at GruntDoc*
A new study of more than 52,000 pregnant women in Canada shows that miscarriage rates were more than twice as high for women who took a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) compared to women who did not. The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that women who used prescription NSAIDS for just 4 days during early pregnancy had an increased risk for miscarriage.
These medications are commonly prescribed for pain, cramps, headaches and fever and can be bought over the counter as Advil, Aleeve or Ibuprofen. We have thought they were safe in early pregnancy but this study shows that may not be the case. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*
Twenty percent of people who leave their doctors’ offices with a new prescription don’t fill it. Up to one-half of those who do fill their prescriptions don’t take the drugs as recommended. These individuals are considered non-compliant. But does that mean they are not engaged in their health care? Engagement and compliance are not synonyms.
I am compliant if I do what my doctor tells me to do.
I am engaged, on the other hand, when I actively participate in the process of solving my health problems. This new prescription is an element in that process. If I am engaged in my care, I might want to learn about this medication. Such as: what it can and cannot do to ease my pain or slow the progress of my disease; what side effects it might produce and what I should do about them; how long it will take to work; when I should take it and how; how much it may cost; and what will happen if I don’t take it. I might want to consider the barriers to taking it and weigh the risks and benefits of alternatives. Could I instead make changes in my physical activity level or diet, try a dietary supplement or watchfully wait to see if the symptoms subside?
If my clinician has done more than just hand me the prescription – if she has, for example, raised these questions and discussed these concerns with me, I probably won’t have a prescription in my hand if I don’t intend to fill it.
But I can be engaged in my health care even if I don’t have that conversation with my provider. I can Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Prepared Patient Forum: What It Takes Blog*