Blog Posts

01 Nov 2016
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Part of a series of posts about common chronic illnesses and what happens when people cannot afford prescription medications to treat them.

Hepatitis C is an infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver and causes inflammation.  An estimated 3.5 million Americans are living with hepatitis C, with about half unaware they even have it. Recent advancements in hepatitis C treatments have greatly improved. New medications can lead to a cure in about 90 percent of people. But the prices for such treatments are prohibiting access and that means more people will remain sick and sometimes die. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2014, hepatitis C related deaths reached an all-time high of 19,659, killing more Americans each year than all other infectious diseases combined, including HIV.

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19 Oct 2016
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A large share of medication that is imported by Americans for personal use from Canada and many other countries is ordered on the Internet. It’s not a secret that the pharmaceutical industry, U.S. chain pharmacies and the U.S Food and Drug Administration are not happy about it. But what they are doing about it is less well-known and even less well-understood. An important article published by Jeremy Malcolm of the Electronic Frontier Foundation last week called “How Big Pharma’s Shadow Regulation Censors the Internet” brings the situation into clear view. Multinational pharmaceutical companies and the FDA are funding non-profit groups, global initiatives, or private companies, ones that all work with each other, to make it harder, and may make it impossible, for Americans to buy medications online for personal import.

The ‘censorship’ about which Mr. Malcolm writes is subtle but no less real than more overt censorship. The censors essentially would like all international online pharmacies that sell to consumers in the U.S. to be shutdown. For the millions of Americans who can’t or struggle to afford medication, those websites are a lifeline and that censorship, if successful, would end it.

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29 Sep 2016
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Part of a series of posts about common chronic illnesses and what happens when people cannot afford prescription medications to treat them.

Americans are dying from cancer because they either can’t afford the medications to treat it, or they have the money but refuse to bankrupt their families. Cancer is the second leading cause of death after heart disease in the U.S., claiming more than half a million lives each year. In 2016, it is estimated that 1,685,210 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S., amounting to one new diagnosis every 30 seconds.

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16 Sep 2016
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With the presidential election less than two months away, we’re taking some time to see where the candidates stand on prescription drug access and affordability issues – and glance at the national positions of the Democratic and Republican parties. Drug prices are not a good issue for the candidates to ignore, as tens of millions of families across the nation are impacted. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, almost 60% of American adults took at least one prescription drug in 2012, with 15% taking five or more medications. Moreover, the cost of prescription drugs is their number one healthcare concern.

A 2015 poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 76 percent of U.S. adults think that the top healthcare priority for the current Administration and Congress should be "making sure that high-cost drugs for chronic conditions, such as HIV, hepatitis, mental illness and cancer, are affordable to those who need them.”  Recent headlines, such as those featuring the EpiPen price hike, further highlight the public’s outrage over the soaring cost of prescription medications.

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01 Sep 2016
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Part of a series of posts about common chronic illnesses and what happens when people cannot afford prescription medications to treat them.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 29.1 million people, or 9.3% of the U.S. population, have diabetes. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to unnecessary hospitalizations and death. While Diabetes ranks as the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., many people with diabetes actually die from complications related to diabetes rather than the disease itself. In 2011, 85.3% of adults with diagnosed diabetes reported taking pills or insulin for their diabetes. But, the increasing cost of diabetes medications in the U.S. often leads patients to forgo or ration life-saving treatments.

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