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August 23, 2013 | By David Lazarus
Like a lot of people, Lesa has unused prescription drugs at her home. She's tried to donate them to doctors. She's tried to donate them to hospitals. To no avail. She wants to know: Is there any way to donate unused medicine and put it to good use? It would be nice if that were the case, but it's not. There's just too great a chance of mischief (or worse) resulting from drug donations. So the real question here is how people should dispose of unused medications. The Food and Drug Administration says it's OK to get rid of most medications in the garbage, but they advise mixing pills with kitty litter or some equally yucky commodity to deter thieves.
August 16, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
The growing death toll from prescription drug overdoses reflects the increased use of powerful painkillers and psychotherapeutic drugs, many of which are addictive and toxic when misused. Since The Times' Scott Glover and Lisa Girion began highlighting the problem late last year, state lawmakers have responded by trying to plug the information gaps that enable patients and doctors to abuse the system. Those efforts are slowly yielding results, although not to the extent that's needed.
August 15, 2013 | David Lazarus
Since February, CVS Caremark has been pushing its pharmacists to enroll customers in a prescription-drug rewards program. The benefit to customers is the opportunity to earn up to $50 a year in store credits that can be used to buy shampoo, toothpaste or other products. The benefit to CVS is persuading pharmacy customers, through questionable means, to give up federal privacy safeguards for their medical information and permitting the company to share people's drug purchases with others.
August 13, 2013 | By Scott Glover
A bill aimed at beefing up California's prescription drug monitoring system so that it can be better used to track drug abusing patients and recklessly prescribing physicians emerged from an Assembly committee Monday on a unanimous vote. The bill by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord),  which was backed by Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris, was approved 14 to 0 by members of the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection. The bill is next scheduled for consideration by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
August 7, 2013 | By Sheri Linden
If ever a documentary topic lent itself to the facts-figures-and-outrage approach, it's Big Pharma's pervasiveness in modern medicine. Instead of taking the obvious route, the new film "Off Label" adopts an elliptical strategy that proves as effective as it is unexpected. Directors Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher have interwoven portraits of eight Americans whose lives revolve, in various ways, around prescription drugs. From the lyrical to the harrowing, their stories make for an unsettling composite view.
July 25, 2013 | David Lazarus
"Good news - you've been accepted!" the letter says. "Get up to 75% off when you use these free cards at your favorite pharmacy!" Enclosed are two plastic cards from National Prescription Savings Network that include personal "member identification numbers" and the pledge that "you will not be turned down for a pre-existing condition. " The cards are "pre-activated and ready to use immediately," the letter says. "They entitle you - and every member of your family - to discounts on every FDA-approved prescription medication sold at pharmacies everywhere in the United States.
July 22, 2013 | By Jeff Gottlieb
Katherine Jackson testified Monday that her pop star son denied he was using prescription drugs when she asked him about rumors she had heard. Testifying for the second day in her family's wrongful-death suit against entertainment giant AEG Live, the family matriarch said the conversation occurred as she was getting ready to leave her son's house in Las Vegas, where Michael Jackson lived from 2006 to 2008. She said she told Michael that she had heard he was using prescription drugs and that she didn't want him to end up "like all the others.
July 5, 2013
Re "CDC cites overuse of drugs for pain," July 3 As a gynecologist who has been treating women with pain for more than 40 years, I disagree with Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who categorically states that doctors prescribe narcotics too often and too soon for pain. The vast majority of honest physicians take a careful history and deal with individual patients, prescribing only enough narcotics so they can function normally.
June 11, 2013 | David Lazarus
Generic prescription drugs have to meet exacting standards for ingredients and quality, which you'd think would make them uniformly priced at pharmacies. But that, of course, isn't the case. Generic drug prices can be all over the map, depending on where and how you buy them. Bruce Lowther, 45, takes five generic prescription meds daily for a heart condition. He had a heart attack a few years ago. Lowther was paying nearly $370 every three months for supplies of his drugs at Target.
May 31, 2013 | By Scott Glover and Lisa Girion, Los Angeles Times
The state Senate on Thursday unanimously passed the last bill in a broad package of proposed reforms aimed at combating prescription drug abuse and mounting overdose deaths in California. The bills, inspired by a series of investigative stories in The Times, would help authorities track drug abusing patients as well as doctors who overprescribe painkillers and other addictive narcotics. One bill would give the state medical board the power to immediately suspend the prescribing privileges of doctors suspected of putting patients at risk.
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