Tag Archives: prescription drugs

When covering drug-price reform, keep patients’ medication costs in perspective

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the trade group for drug makers, produced the ad on the left that has been called misleading. The AARP produced the ad on the right calling out PhRMA for attempting to scare seniors into opposing efforts in Congress to pass drug-price reforms. (Photo courtesy of PhRMA and AARP’s YouTube video ads.)

Last week, Aimee Picchi reported for CBS News on a new Gallup and West Health survey showing that 18 million Americans (7% of U.S. adults) cannot afford the medications their doctors prescribe.

Households with annual income under $24,000 struggle even more, she wrote, adding that almost 20% of those Americans were unable to pay for at least one prescription drug in the previous three months. To save money, about 10% of all adults skipped a pill in the prior year, she noted. Gallup and West Health surveyed some 5,000 adults in June.

Picchi made two important points for journalists to consider when writing about efforts in Congress to reform how much Americans pay for prescription drugs. Continue reading

Report explains the need for a waste-free formulary for pharmacy benefits

Photo: Marko Javorac via Flickr

A recent study from the Commonwealth Fund and the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) shows that developing a waste-free formulary by cutting the number of high-cost, low-value drugs in employers’ health benefit plans could save employers as much as 24% in pharmacy spending.

Concern about rising prescription drug costs has caused large self-insured employers to develop innovative formularies for the pharmacy benefit plans they provide to employees, their family members and retirees. A formulary is a list of drugs that employers and health plans include in their benefit plans for employees and members. Continue reading

Modifying use of some prescription drugs may reduce fracture risk in older adults

Photo: Marko Javorac via Flickr

Photo: Marko Javorac via Flickr

Some fragility fractures – those that occur at standing height – may be preventable by modifying a patient’s prescription drug regimen.

Older adults are more prone to these types of fractures, costing the U.S. health system about $16 billion annually in direct medical costs. Patients who already have had one fracture are more likely to incur additional ones. Continue reading

Things to watch for as Medicare open enrollment gets underway

Photo: jennie-o via Flickr

Photo: jennie-o via Flickr

This week marks the start of Medicare’s open enrollment period, when beneficiaries can shop for a Medicare Advantage (MA) or Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) for 2016. Open enrollment happens every year from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is encouraging people with Medicare to check whether they’re getting the best price and quality plan available based on their current and anticipated health needs. Continue reading

Getting past conventional wisdom in the prescription drug epidemic #ahcj13

Drug-induced fatalities are one of the only preventable causes of death that’s rising, rather than decreasing.

That’s because deaths from prescription narcotics have exploded, and as the panelists at a Health Journalism 2013 panel explained, there are ways to get past the talking points of this “epidemic” and decipher some of the causes for the public.

Lisa Girion, an investigative reporter with the Los Angeles Times, went document diving to get to the root of the problem in a multi-part series she reported with Scott Glover called “Dying for Relief.” Continue reading