Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Have Drugs Will Travel

Even with the best of intentions, columnists with band aid solutions often muddy the real issues. Case at hand: lousy US health care and very high cost of drugs. In today's Los Angeles Times article Cost is the real drug threat by David Lazarus, the way to help US citizens curb the cost of their prescriptions would be

The Food and Drug Administration should be authorized to certify leading Canadian pharmacies as reliable suppliers of medications.
At the same time, U.S. and Canadian officials should negotiate a treaty that permits U.S. doctors to fax or electronically transfer prescriptions to Canadian pharmacies. This wouldn't necessarily solve the conundrum of uninsured Americans being unable to afford doctors' visits, but it would allow prescriptions to be more easily

Why regulate the cost of drugs from domestic big pharma, who have the lock on our legislators already? Might as well go certify Canadian cheapo drugs, and while you're at it, why not include Indian and Chinese pharmacies as well--they must be cheaper than Canada.

Lazarus paints a grim picture of the out of reach cost of many life-sustaining, and-saving drugs that Americans can't afford, and how 48 million of our fellow citizens are not even medically-insured which alone is a national tragedy. Too bad he closes on such a ridiculous and unfeasible solution.

But the heartening news is that in the same "Business Section" of the Times comes the report that the two anti-viral flu drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza, will be re-labelled to show they may cause psychotic reactions of delirium:

Roche Holding and GlaxoSmithKline said Tuesday that they had added new labels to their prescription flu medicines that contain reports of abnormal psychiatric behavior in some patients.

Both drug labels say the cases "appear to be uncommon."

...FDA staff described reports of about 700 cases of adverse
psychiatric events for both drugs and 25 cases of pediatric deaths in patients taking Tamiflu, reported to the agency through May 2007.

It tends to be a "common reaction" to the families and friends of the 25 who died.

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