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Generic Drugs: Not So Cheap

I received the following e-mail from a patient (paraphrased):

Dear Dr. Fisher,

Thank you for trying to switch me from lisinopril to generic losartan (Cozaar) to help me with the irritating cough that has been nagging me since I was placed on lisinopril. I did not pick up my prescription, though. At nearly $200 for a three-month supply, I’ve decided to live with the cough, since the same amount of lisinopril costs me about $12.

-Ms. Patient

Interesting how the generic drug market for some drugs only marginally discounts prices. Since the companies that make generics did not have to absorb research and development costs, how do they justify the exorbitant prices? Simple: The middlemen still have to get theirs.

-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Patients Are Splitting Pills To Cut Healthcare Costs

Patients are pill-splitting more to trim back healthcare costs, according to a poll by Consumer Reports. In the past year, 39 percent took some action to cut costs.

The poll of more than 1,100 people found that 45 percent of people take at least one prescription drug and average four. But 27 percent said they didn’t always comply with a prescription, and 38 percent of those younger than 65 without drug coverage didn’t fill prescriptions at all.

Just over half of patients felt that doctors didn’t consider their ability to pay when prescribing a drug, while nearly half blamed drugmaker’s influence for physicians’ prescribing habits. (HealthLeaders Media)

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Industry-Sponsored Medical Education: Should Big Pharma Buy Doctors Lunch?

Big Pharma Free Lunch WagonAppetite for Instruction: Why Big Pharma should buy your doctor lunch sometimes” is the headline of an article on Slate.com that has upset many readers. I’m not terribly upset about it because it just seems too naive and misinformed to get upset about. The final line of the piece tells you all you need to know about the tone of the column:

“Ousting commercial support is creating a huge chasm in medical education, leaving doctors not only hungry but also starved for knowledge.”

A number of online comments were posted in reaction to the piece. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*

Medication Safety And Ambulance-Chasing Lawyers

I don’t know about the rest of you medical bloggers, but I’ve been getting emails from folks who run a website called DrugWatch.com asking for reciprocal links and promoting themselves as the go-to place for patients to get up-to-date information on medication safety.

Tucked into the website is this promise: “We will never accept advertising from the pharmaceutical industry.” Right. Because the whole site is a front for a bunch of Orlando lawyers trying to sniff out potential clients for medication-related lawsuits against the pharmaceutical industry. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Blog that Ate Manhattan*

A Transparent Healthcare System: What’s More Clear?

Congressional democrats want more transparency in healthcare, believing it would further drive down the cost of care, reports Politico.

Hoping to drive competition, some lawmakers are grumbling to force doctors to reveal business negotiations between them and drug and device makers. Opponents worry that manipulating economics would backfire. If everyone knows their competitor’s business, why bother negotiating lower prices?

But transparency worked for Wisconsin’s hospitals, not in business dealings but in reporting outcomes, reports The Fiscal Times. By voluntarily revealing clinical outcomes on the Web, the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality was able to spur low-performing hospitals to improve, high-performing facilities to eliminate tests that didn’t improve outcomes, and create an informed healthcare consumer with choices where to receive care.

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Hospitalist*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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