June 16, 2015

US Confirms CIPA Approved Canadian Pharmacies Safe Option for Prescription Drugs

Happy smiling Customer With A Pharmacist

A survey conducted by the Canadian International Pharmacy Association explores reasons behind Americans continuing to utilize online licensed Canadian pharmacies when ordering prescription medications.  Nearly 2,700 Americans participated in the study with 64 percent say they purchase maintenance medications from pharmacy options outside the United States due to prescription fill costs.

Nearly 22 percent who participated claimed their insurance coverage didn’t cover some medications. On average for regular prescription medication orders Americans are spending roughly $250 per month with Canadian pharmacies.  Research has shown this option has helped thousands of Americans avoid suffering severe health concerns. Those who participated in the study attributed the following 3 reasons why they import prescription medicines from Canada:

  1. Unable to afford prescription fill costs (lack of funds).  About 11 percent say they could not purchase any prescription medicine at all if acquired from a U.S pharmacy.
  2. Prescriptions not covered in their insurance plan. About 32 percent say their healthcare coverage doesn’t cover all of their medications.
  3. Dramatic rise in medication costs. Roughly 57 percent of respondents claim they are responsible for paying their health insurance.  They also pay all of their medication costs.

Maintenance medications offered in Canada are cheaper. Customers have reported saving roughly 50 percent or almost $250 on a 90-day supply from Canadian pharmacies.  Having an affordable alternative such as this has helped reduce risk factors previous studies have researched. This includes issues of patients skipping doses, abruptly stopping medication use and even putting personal health at higher risk.

Seniors on Medicare include growing number of patients who utilize online Canadian pharmacies for maintenance prescription fills.  Most respondents who participated in the study are aged 55 and older.  Strategies such as lower-cost medication options, skipping doses, taking less medication, delaying prescription refills and not taking medicine as prescribed are risks many face due to lack of proper health care coverage.  Many without insurance coverage were more likely to ask about lower-cost alternatives than those with private healthcare coverage or Medicaid.

National Health Interview data published in 2013 showed common ways American’s sought to cut drug costs.  Close to 20% of adults aged 18-64 and roughly 20.3% of seniors 65 and older say they discussed lower-cost medication options.   Almost 13% of adults 18-64 admit they did not take prescription medicine as prescribed. Nearly 6 percent of adults 65 and older admitted to the same action.

CIPA offers American medical patients with pharmaceutical and maintenance medication options (excludes controlled substances) through 90-day supply options with valid prescription information.

June 1, 2015

How Having An Up-To-Date Prescription Medication List Prevents Harm

Filling Out FormsWhen it comes to taking prescription drugs, as scary as it sounds, you’re the only one who knows best what you’re taking and how you’re medications are affecting you.  Having an up-to-date medication list that outlines what and how you’re taking your medication that you share with your healthcare team such as your doctor, pharmacist, dentist, nurse, specialist and caregivers, like family and friends who help out—will significantly reduce harm when it comes to adverse drug interactions inadvertently happening when medications are accidently mixed together. It will take some effort on your part in making a list of prescription and non-prescription medications but it’s actually the most simple and often overlooked strategy for better health and will prevent injury or harm to you or your loved one.

Why does having an accurate patient shared medication list so important?  Based on a medical survey, only about 25% of physicians could easily generate a list of an individual patient’s medications.  A systematic review by Dr. Ed Etchells and his colleagues published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found up to two-thirds of the time, there was an error in medications at the time of admission. They also discovered that 41% of these errors were clinically important, and 22% had a potential to cause harm during the patient’s admission. When you combine the fact that two-thirds of seniors are on five or more prescription drugs, often prescribed by different healthcare providers, the cause for concern rises, because of the high opportunity of errors happening.  However, there is also the great opportunity to prevent errors by creating an up-to-date medication list to ensure proper patient care.

Other issues that arise begin before patients take medication.  In 2014, a study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine by Dr. Robyn Tamblyn and it revealed that 31% of the patients didn’t even fill their prescriptions in the first place.  This happens quite frequently in the province of Quebec where they have a generous program of government coverage for medications, especially for lower income people, and you’d think that people with rather severe illnesses, recent hospitalizations, or emergency visits would be more likely to take their medications to prevent getting even sicker—but that’s not often the case.

People with chronic diseases, especially ones that are considered “silent” and we don’t notice many of the symptoms such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol—about 1 out of every 2 people actually discontinue taking their medications after a year.  At least 50% of people not taking their medications are missing out on the chance of decreasing their susceptibility of having heart attack or stroke by around 25%.  It’s also important to take note that there are some medications, like antidepressants and other examples, where stopping them suddenly is definitely not a good idea. How you are taking your medications can be as important as what you’re taking.

The adherence to taking your prescribed medication is so important because it could be a choice between preventing a heart attack or stroke—and taking the risk of not following what your healthcare provider has prescribed may lead to further complications or even death.  The approach to explaining to patients on medication adherence must be explored.  It’s not enough to say that:  “This medication lowers your blood pressure”.  Taking more time to say “I’m prescribing this medication because I want you to decrease your chances of having a stroke or heart attack and go on to explain that, “when your blood pressure is high, your heart has to work harder, and it becomes more bulky and stiff.  We don’t want a muscleman for our heart; we want a long distance runner.  So by lowering your blood pressure, we make things easier for your heart, and your brain, and your kidneys too.”

The patient’s role in owning up to medication adherence is the first simple step in gathering an accurate and updated medication list.  Developing the good practice of asking your local pharmacist for advice and working together in reviewing your medication list is a crucial step in reducing patient harm when it comes to taking multiple medications.  Make it easier for yourself by getting all your medication from the same pharmacy.  This helps decrease the potential of overprescribing, adverse drug interactions, and so on.

May 24, 2011

Low Health Literacy Rate in Seniors

Health literacy refers to a patient’s ability to understand the usage, information, and instructions they are to follow about their health and medications. Recent studies show that seniors are not taking prescription medications properly because of the present low health literacy rate. The low health literacy rate has led to a poor health status and a high risk of death. Studies show that patients have been taking medications up to 14 times a day because they did not want to combine their dosages although medications were prescribed in the same manner (i.e. one pill every 12 hours).

Doctors usually prescribe medications that can be taken together and are safe for the patient. However, one third of senior patients were found to be taking their meds at different times. Drugs are typically prescribed alike so they can be taken together. It is difficult for a patient to take prescriptions when they do not have enough information. Doctors should be up to date about what a patient is taking, such as herbal supplements and vitamins, and administrate clear instructions about taking drugs.

If you are unclear about instructions on taking medications then consult your doctor or a pharmacy right away. QualityPrescriptionDrugs is an online pharmacy where patients can ask any questions or address concerns with knowledgeable staff or directly to a qualified doctor. Additionally, QualityPrescriptionDrugs offers high quality medications such as Lipitor and Aciphex, and allows patients to talk to a pharmacist about instructions regarding intake of these prescription medications. A fear of accidental overdose and negative effects of medications prevent patients from taking medications, which can worsen the health problem. So when you’re in doubt, do not hesitate to ask your pharmacist or doctor any questions.