March 18, 2013 |
Wanda Ferrin fills her husband's prescription for the generic antibiotic doxycycline at a Target in Simi Valley. For years, the medication has cost her $6 a month. In February, however, the price tripled to $18 for 30 pills. And this month, it skyrocketed to $133. This is noteworthy enough. But what happened next makes the entire business of drug pricing a study in lunacy. "A pharmacy clerk at Target suggested running the prescription through the company's discount program," Ferrin, 61, recalled.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 11, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - After hearing emotional testimony from parents whose children died of drug overdoses, lawmakers in Sacramento called Monday for the Medical Board of California to mine a statewide database of prescriptions to help identify doctors who recklessly prescribe narcotics. "If we are going to take seriously the role of patient protection, then we have to be proactive in determining if there is a pattern of overprescribing," said Assemblyman Richard Gordon (D-Menlo Park), who co-chairs a joint legislative panel that oversees the medical board.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 3, 2013 |
Calling prescription drug abuse an urgent public health problem, California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris is pushing lawmakers to fund an effort to identify physicians who recklessly prescribe addictive medications. Harris said in an interview that she wanted to use a state database of prescriptions, known as CURES, to draw a bead on doctors who abuse their prescribing powers, a controversial step discussed for years but never adopted. CURES, diminished by years of budget cuts, is now used mostly to identify "doctor-shopping" addicts, who feed their habit by obtaining multiple prescriptions from different doctors.
February 28, 2013
Political movements like the tea party may come and go, but the pot party seems to get stronger with every national election, putting the federal government in an increasingly untenable position. To date, more than one-third of the states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana, at least for medical purposes, and, according to Americans for Safe Access, eight other states are considering bills to do the same. As a result, we're getting close to the point where half the country will have legalized a drug designated a Schedule 1 controlled substance by the federal government, meaning it has no known medical uses and is as dangerous as heroin.
February 21, 2013 |
Sue Grey had used the product before, so she knew what to expect when she purchased a bottle of Super Colon Cleanse at a Woodland Hills CVS drugstore. Inside should have been 240 little gray capsules. But when Grey, 57, opened the sealed bottle at her Calabasas home, she found that it contained the painkiller Motrin plus some strange-looking discs that resembled slices of dried sausage. She and her boyfriend, Kip Green, immediately returned to CVS and notified the manager. With the manager looking on, they pulled another sealed bottle of Super Colon Cleanse from the shelf and opened it. This time they found a prescription anti-seizure medicine called Depakote, which is used to treat bipolar disorder, epilepsy and chronic migraines.
February 19, 2013 |
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.
February 11, 2013 |
The current state of our healthcare system, and especially the pervasiveness of prescription pills, have been the subject of great and compelling interest to news outlets over the last few years. But it's not exactly been the stuff of great multiplex excitement. We received more proof this weekend with the opening of “Side Effects” . The movie, which tells of a troubled woman (Rooney Mara) for whom things begin to go askew when she tries a new psychiatric medication, grossed a dismal $10 million in U.S. theaters despite the presence of popular stars (Channing Tatum plays Mara's husband)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 7, 2013 |
A consumer advocacy group Wednesday called for new laws to improve the state's monitoring of doctors who prescribe dangerous narcotics. Consumer Watchdog said reforms were needed to reduce surging prescription drug overdoses and to rein in incompetent and corrupt physicians. "We call upon you to convene hearings immediately to deal with this crisis and consider appropriate solutions," the Santa Monica-based group wrote in a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers. The letter was prompted by Times reports that exposed the role of physicians' prescriptions in overdose deaths.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 25, 2013 |
In a move to stem the epidemic of prescription drug deaths, a federal advisory panel has recommended tighter controls on a narcotic painkiller best known by the brand name Vicodin. It is the nation's most widely prescribed drug. By a 19-to-10 vote, an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended Friday that the agency reclassify hydrocodone, the active ingredient in Vicodin, as a Schedule II narcotic, placing it in the same category as other widely abused medications, including OxyContin and fentanyl.
January 17, 2013 |
If you turn to Google before turning to a doctor when you're feeling icky, you're not alone. Last year, 1 in 3 Americans typed their symptoms into search engines and medical websites before seeing their physician, according to a Pew Research Center study released this week. And with the flu epidemic making its way steadily west, now seems like a good time to talk about the best way to search for health information online. Searching for medical advice online can never replace a visit to a living, breathing doctor, but there are ways to help you weed through the online clutter and get reliable information.