Fighting Big Pharma

pills_moneyA Kaiser Poll (hyperlink: http://kff.org/health-costs/poll-finding/kaiser-health-tracking-poll-october-2016/) released October 27th reports:        When thinking about health care priorities for the next president and Congress to address, dealing with the high price of prescription drugs tops the public’s list.

When asked specifically about concerns in the healthcare realm, controlling prescription drug costs was the number one concern. My suggestions for addressing the cost of medications are twofold, what we can do collectively to pressure the industry to do the right thing, and what we can do individually.  We must continue to be vigilant, watchful activists. I admit, I have weathered many a drug “shortage” knowing that it was artificial and engineered by the pharmaceutical industry…not taking action (besides some whining and sarcastic remarks). In the future I will try to take some sort of action. When things seem wrong, they probably are and we must take action. Ask the pharmacist if their costs have inexplicably risen. Investigate. Read. If something is wrong, call it out. Contact legislators. Contact local investigative reporters. Post information on social media. None of us can afford to be apathetic.

On the personal front, how can we impact big pharma? Be healthy and work to NOT need what they have to sell! Be proactive. If you are seeking medical care, state that you prefer no medications. Don’t ask for or demand drugs that are not indicated (hyperlink: . http://mcintoshmd.com/post-template-clone-before-editing-2/), which is not as uncommon as you would think. If you are told you need a medication, ask the prescriber if it is really needed, (or is it just what most people want, knee jerk or CYA?). What would be the risks if you tried it without medications?  If working together with your doctor (or other provider) using shared decision making you decide a medication is indicated, additional questions to ask: is the prescription they are giving you the most cost effective i.e. cheapest medication for the job, can you get it as a generic; are the dosing, strength and duration the minimum effective amount? Avoid waste: if it is new medication that may be long term, ask for a smaller prescription to ensure that you tolerate it prior to getting 100 tablets. This may require two prescriptions, one for the initial trial and one for the longer-term. This will prevent another trip to the office and potential lapses in having the medication. Take as directed! Another thing that is more un-common than you think.