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BUSINESS
March 7, 2013 | David Lazarus
Diane Shattuck filled a prescription in December for a generic antibiotic called doxycycline. With insurance, she paid $4.30 for 60 pills at a CVS store in Orange. She returned at the end of February to refill her prescription. This time, she was told her cost for the drug would be about $165. "It was bizarre," Shattuck, 73, told me. "And no one at CVS could explain why the price was so high. " Unfortunately, I won't be able to offer a clear-cut answer, either. But my effort to untangle Shattuck's situation cast a harsh light on the shadowy world of drug pricing.
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BUSINESS
February 19, 2013 | David Lazarus
Anthem Blue Cross is backing off a decision to require some policyholders to buy their prescription drugs from a single mail-order pharmacy - a requirement that the California attorney general's office said may be illegal. Anthem, California's largest for-profit health insurer, said in November that it was imposing the new rule for so-called specialty medications used to treat major illnesses, such as cancer and HIV/AIDS. The company said the limitation would help keep costs down for patients and businesses.
BUSINESS
February 19, 2013 | By David Lazarus
Anthem Blue Cross is backing off a decision to require some policyholders to buy their prescription drugs from a single mail-order pharmacy -- a requirement that the California attorney general's office said may be illegal. Anthem, California's largest for-profit health insurer, said in November that it was imposing the new requirement for so-called specialty medications used to treat major illnesses. The company said the limitation would help keep costs down for patients and businesses.
HEALTH
February 11, 2013 | By Mary MacVean, Los Angeles Times
When I was pregnant the second time, I found myself wearing wristbands nonstop that looked like they were meant for athletes but actually were to fend off morning (try all day long) sickness. They were functional but not too attractive. Psi Bands (pronounced "sigh" and referring to pounds per square inch) are acupressure wristbands that bring a little style to nausea relief for people who can't or don't want to take medications. They were designed by two moms and look rather like an inexpensive watch; the pressure applied to the wrists is adjustable.
BUSINESS
January 10, 2013 | David Lazarus
Anthem Blue Cross may be breaking California law by requiring some policyholders to buy their prescription drugs from a single mail-order pharmacy, according to the state attorney general's office. Anthem, the state's largest for-profit health insurer, had notified members with conditions such as HIV/AIDS and cancer that they will have to buy their medications from the mail-order pharmacy CuraScript or pay full price at a retail drugstore. Other Anthem members, including those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, face no such requirement.
BUSINESS
January 1, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - State regulators are responding to a deadly nationwide meningitis outbreak linked to contaminated drugs by seeking new power to inspect out-of-state pharmacies that sell special-order prescription drugs in California. In September, the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., sent three shipments of contaminated injectable steroid solutions to 76 healthcare facilities and pain-control clinics in 23 states, including four in California. These customized drugs, which were injected into patients' spines and joints, caused 39 deaths among 620 reported cases of fungal meningitis and other infections, according to a Dec. 17 report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 13, 2012 | By Maura Dolan and Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times
SAN FRANCISCO - In a potential windfall for the state, a federal appeals court decided unanimously Thursday that California may cut reimbursements to doctors, pharmacies and others who serve the poor under Medi-Cal. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals overturned injunctions blocking the state from implementing a 2011 law that slashed Medi-Cal reimbursements by 10%. Medi-Cal, a version of Medicaid, serves low-income Californians. The ruling could make it harder to find doctors for as many as 2 million new patients who could become eligible for Medi-Cal under President Obama's healthcare law - a possible 25% expansion of the program.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 29, 2012 | Nita Lelyveld, Los Angeles Times
When he died in 1974, George Abraham Simmons left a bulky legacy: boxes and boxes of drugstore pills, salves and potions - enough to fill multiple cargo containers. What to do with it all? His family was stumped. Pharmaceuticals and botanicals, rouges, deodorants and still-sealed packs of cigarettes - he'd accumulated around 85,000 items. Photos: New life for old corner drugstore To label Simmons a hoarder, though, would be oversimplifying. Take a moment to understand his world.
OPINION
October 21, 2012 | By Scott Gottlieb
You get what you pay for. This maxim is proving true all over again when it comes to steroid injections used to alleviate back pain. Making safe and effective versions of such drugs involves manufacturing steps that aren't trivial. The cost of the medicine has to match the care that goes into creating it and the oversight required to ensure that the standards are maintained. Since September, about 250 people have been sickened and 19 have died after getting steroid injections for back pain.
BUSINESS
October 16, 2012 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - State pharmacy regulators have opened an investigation into reports that CVS Caremark Corp. refilled prescriptions and billed insurance companies without patients' consent. Virginia Herold, executive officer of the California Board of Pharmacy, said Tuesday that investigators were probing complaints about the refill practices of the country's largest drugstore chain after Walgreen Co. Herold said the complaints concerning "CVS and refills" were similar to allegations raised in four Los Angeles Times reports published in the last three months.
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