Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Posts Tagged ‘prescription’

Inappropriate Prescriptions For Elderly

Posted by Dr. Gray on Thursday, April 23, 2009

From pain to depression to infection, there seems to be a pill for just about everything; it’s no surprise then that prescription use is at an all time high in the U.S. A recent study, however, revealed that inappropriate medications are often prescribed to the elderly, putting them at risk for many adverse side-effects.

Investigators from Duke Clinical Reasearch Institute in Durham, NC, examined over 700,000 outpatient prescription claims from a national pharmaceutical benefit manager in subjects 65-years or older. The study found that 21 percent of the subjects had filled a prescription for one or more drugs that had been named on the Beers revised list of drugs to be avoided in elderly populations. More than 15 percent filled prescriptions for two drugs on the list, and four percent filled three or more within the same year. Alarmingly, 51 percent of the prescriptions filled were known to have possible severe side-effects.

Before your next trip to the drug store, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of your prescriptions, and ask about those with fewer side effects to avoid suffering potentially severe consequences. Or better yet, ask about nonprescription alternatives to treatment.

References: Curtis LH, Ostbye T, Sendersky V, et.al. Inappropriate prescribing for elderly Americans in a large outpatient population. Archives of Internal Medicine 2004 (164):1621-25.

Dr. Gray’s Comments: Although this article was written primarily aimed at the elderly, most reading this blog aren’t there yet. Therefore, learn from this! Understand that the majority of medications and age-related conditions can be avoided if you make proper decisions now. Follow good dietary recommendations, take whole-food supplements (not synthetic, fractional crap), and exercise regularly.

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What Drugs Really Cost

Posted by Dr. Gray on Thursday, July 24, 2008

Excerpted from the web site located at www.stopFDA.com operated by Life Extension Foundation

Did you ever wonder how much it costs a drug company for the active ingredient in prescription medications? Some people think it must cost a lot, since many drugs sell for more then $2.00 per tablet. We did a search of offshore chemical synthesizers that supply the active ingredients found in drugs approved by the FDA. As we have revealed in past issues of Life Extension, a significant percentage of drugs sold in the United States contain active ingredients made in other countries.

In our independent investigation of how much profit drug companies really make, we obtained the actual price of active ingredients used in some of the most popular drugs sold in America. The chart below speaks for itself.

Since the cost of prescription drugs is so outrageous, I thought everyone I knew should know about this. Please read the following and pass it on. It pays to shop around. This helps to solve the mystery as to why they can afford to put a Walgreens on every corner……

On Monday night, Steve Wilson, an investigative reporter for channel 7 News in Detroit, did a story on generic drug price gouging by pharmacies. He found in his investigation, that some of these generic drugs were marked up as much as 3,000% or more. Yes, that’s not a typo… three thousand percent! So often, we blame the drug companies for the high cost of drugs, and usually rightfully so. But in this case, the fault clearly lies with the pharmacies themselves. For example, if you had to buy a prescription drug, and bought the name brand, you might pay $100 for 100 pills. The pharmacist might tell you that if you get the generic equivalent, they would only cost $80, making you think you are “saving” $20. What the pharmacist is not telling you is that those 100 generic pills may have only cost him $10!

At the end of the report, one of the anchors asked Mr. Wilson whether or not there were any pharmacies that did not adhere to this practice, and he said that Costco consistently charged little over their cost for the generic drugs.

I went to the Costco site, where you can look up any drug, and get its online price. It says that the in-store prices are consistent with the online prices. I was appalled. Just to give you one example from my own experience, I had to use the drug, Compazine, which helps prevent nausea in chemo patients. I used the generic equivalent, which cost $54.99 for 60 pills at CVS. I checked the price at Costco, and I could have bought 100 pills for $19.89! For 145 of my pain pills, I paid $72.57. I could have got 150 at Costco for $28.08. I would like to mention, that although Costco is a “membership” type store, you DO NOT have to be a member to buy prescriptions there, as it is a federally regulated substance. Patients just tell them at the door that they wish to use the pharmacy, and they are welcomed in.

Remember that an apple cost almost nothing until it is picked and packaged.

Drug Retail /100 Tabs Cost Mark-Up %
Celebrex 100 mg $130. 27 $0.60 21,712%
Claritin 10 mg $215.17 $0.71 30,306%
Keflex 250 mg $157.39 $1.88 8,372%
Lipitor 20 mg $272.37 $5.80 4,696%
Norvasc 10 mg $188.29 $0.14 134,493%
Paxil 20 mg $220.27 $7.60 2,898%
Prevacid 30 mg $44.77 $1.01 34,136%
Prilosec 20 mg $360.97 $0.52 69,417%
Prozac 20 mg $247.47 $0.11 224,973%
Tenormin 50 mg $104.47 $0.13 80,362%
Vasotec 10 mg $102.37 $0.20 51,185%
Xanax 1 mg $136.79 $0.024 569,958%
Zestril 20 mg $89.89 $3.20 2,809%
Zithromax 600 mg $1,482.19 $18.78 7,892%
Zocor 40 mg $350.27 $8.63 4,059%
Zoloft 50 mg $206.87 $1.75 11,821%

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