There’s a new drug regimen being touted as a potential cure for a dangerous liver virus that causes hepatitis C. But it costs $84,000 – or $1,000 a pill.
And that price tag is prompting outrage from some consumers and a scramble by insurers to figure out which patients should get the drug —and who pays for it.
Called Sovaldi, the drug is made by California-based Gilead Sciences Inc. and is the latest in handful of new treatments for hepatitis C, a chronic infection that afflicts at least 3 million Americans and is a leading cause of liver failure. It was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in December. Continue reading →
Two new medications to treat the deadly epidemic of hepatitis C promise millions of Americans a better chance of a cure, shorter periods of treatment and fewer side effects than older drugs. They also threaten to bust state budgets and raise private insurance rates. Continue reading →
People buying health insurance through the health law’s new online marketplaces are more willing than the public at large to accept a limited roster of doctors and hospitals in return for lower premiums, a poll released Wednesday finds.
But that enthusiasm nosedives if they are told their regular doctor isn’t included in the plan. Continue reading →
Seniors enrolled in Aetna’s Medicare Advantage plan In Baltimore County, Md., saw their monthly premiums rise from $33 to $51 this year.
Enrollees in HealthNow New York, a Medicare HMO in upstate Erie County, saw their premiums jump from zero to $28 a month.
Those in UnitedHealthcare’s plan in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, pay $15 more to see a specialist this year, bringing their total co-pay to $45.
The health insurance industry points to these examples as some of the more extreme cases of beneficiaries feeling the sting of federal funding cuts to Medicare Advantage plans that cover nearly 16 million senior citizens.
They say the Obama administration’s additional proposed 1.9 percent in cuts to the plans for 2015, which was announced Friday, will mean millions more will see reductions in benefits and higher out-of-pocket costs.
But health policy experts and advocates for seniors say most Medicare health plans have largely kept costs and benefits stable and believe the industry is scaring seniors unnecessarily. Continue reading →
The flu hit younger- and middle-age adults hard this season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Thursday.
While the elderly tend to be most vulnerable to influenza, a large majority of those hospitalized with the flu this season, 61%, were people age 18-64 — a big jump from what was seen during the past three flu seasons in which people from this age group made up only about 35 percent of hospitalizations.
Influenza deaths this season are following a similar pattern, with people 25 years to 64 years of age accounting for about 60 percent of flu deaths compared with 18 percent, 30 percent, and 47 percent for the three previous seasons. Continue reading →
By Milly Dawson HBNS Contributing Writer
FEB 18, 2014
Antibiotics are often prescribed for young children who have upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) in order to prevent complications, such as ear infections and pneumonia, however, a new evidence review in The Cochrane Library found no evidence to support this practice. Continue reading →
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — Jill Freedman felt like her heart was jumping out of her chest. She knew her blood pressure was too high and feared having a heart attack or a stroke.
“I was freaking out,” said Freedman, 55. “You get very emotional when you think you could drop dead at any moment.”
Her doctor doubled one of her medications, she said, but that only made her feel worse. So Freedman turned to the one person she knew she could count on — her pharmacist.
“It was Diana who figured out what the problem was,” said Freedman, referring to her longtime pharmacist Diana Arouchanova. “Had she not been on top of what I’m going through, God knows how many more weeks this could have potentially gone on.” Continue reading →
Flu is now widespread across the state and has caused at least nine flu deaths in Washington state since December, the Washington State Department of Health reported Wednesday.
It is likely the number flu deaths is higher because only laboratory confirmed cases must be reported to the state and in many cases laboratory testing is not done, health officials said. Continue reading →
Consumer Update from the US Food and Drug Administration
Don’t order medicines from web sites that claim to be Canadian pharmacies.
Most are not legitimate pharmacies, and the drugs they supply are illegal and potentially dangerous.
Claiming to be a Canadian pharmacy is one of the hallmarks of Internet sites that sell illegal prescription drugs which, in many cases, are not made in Canada at all, but in a number of other countries. Continue reading →
January 16, 2014 – Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration urged health care providers to stop writing prescriptions for pain relievers containing more than 325 milligrams of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol.
The agency’s announcement was aimed primarily at popular prescription medicines that combine acetaminophen with a more powerful opioid such as hydrocodone.
Agency officials said they had determined that “there are no available data” to show that the benefits of having more than 325 milligrams of acetaminophen in a single pill outweighed the risks from taking too much of the drug. Continue reading →