How much more does the U.S. pay for drugs? Up to 10 times more, report says

But more commonly used meds also showed dramatic pricing disparities, including Eli Lilly’s depression fighter Cymbalta and AstraZeneca’s acid reflux pill Nexium. Cymbalta costs $194 in the U.S., compared with $46 in England and $110 in Canada. Nexium runs at about $215 in the U.S., compared with $60 in Switzerland and just $23 in the Netherlands, according to the IFHP report. Both drugs now face generic competition, so less costly options are available in the U.S.

The Real Cost of Tennessee’s New Pain Management Laws

My first shock was when I discovered that it was illegal for a pharmacy in Tennessee to fill a prescription for pain medication which had been written in another state. I mailed them back to my pharmacy in Colorado who filled it for me without question, and then mailed them to me. This gave me thirty days to find a doctor here.

Both of the first two pain management clinics, that I got appointments with, closed after raids by the DEA. The third clinic I tried, refused to write me the medications that I had been on. They wanted to switch me to the extended release form, which runs about 10 times what the instant release tablets cost. I explained that I was on Medicare, which allows me about 2900$ to spend on drugs yearly. What they wanted me to take would have used my benifit in less than three months. I explained, and was told that my financial problems wern’t their problem. They told me to go check into drug rehab. How, exactly, is that going to treat my pain? For that, Medicare paid for a new patient intake, and I paid a 45$ copay. What a total waste of time and money…

I finally found a clinic which writes the medications that I need. They do not accept any type of insurance. I pay them 250$ cash each month. I have been going there for three years now. I am drug tested every month, and I have to pay 50$ a month for it. That is my food budget for two weeks which is just gone. I would love to find a clinic that takes my Medicare. If I go to another pain clinic, even if all I do is check them out, I can be dismissed from my current clinic. I can’t risk that.

If I were to lose my clinic for any reason, they would blackball me in TN, making it almost impossible to find treatment elsewhere…

I used to be allowed to fill three months of all my scripts. That saved me a significant amount of money. The pain clinics in Chattanooga require that you see the doctor once a month. For a long term pain management client like me, that is not needed. I have been on my same regime for over 5 years now. It is the law in Tenneessee. It is designed to bilk me of my money, and give it to someone who already has plenty of cash…

My clinic has cameras and listening devices everywhere. I am certain that the DEA can listen and watch us by taping into that feed. They routinely stand by the entrance and take photos of people going in. They claim that they are searching for fugitives. I don’t believe their lame story. My picture has been taken a few times. I always ask politely if they would like to have my address, so they can send me a copy.

My Medicare Advantage plan took medications that were once Teir 1 and raised them to Teir 3 and 4. My cost went from 8$ per script to 45$ per scrip. That increase alone would feed us for a week…

I have had to muddle through being stopped, and searched, without my consent, by a policeman at a routine traffic stop. I was the passenger. When he asked me for ID, I told him that he has no probable cause to ask me anything. That pissed him off. He searched the car, then he searched us. Then he searched my handbag and found my prescriptions. He accused me of being a drug dealer. I was taken in, for questioning. The first words out of my mouth were, “I wish to assert my legal right to have my lawyer, please.” I used my one phone call to call our lawyer. He had me released within 10 minutes.

I am fed up with being treated like a junkie because I need pain medication to function. Do you know that untreated pain kills? It kills the inner organs. They fail in a sort of cascade. Once the process begins, it can’t be stopped. An ER doctor told me that bit of information…

Need a Cell Doctor?

The gentleman at Cell Doctors was very helpful in answering questions about my broken Verizon jetpack. And even though he couldn’t help me fix that piece of crap, I very much appreciated the imparting of free knowledge.

Cell Doctors

Cell Phone and Tablet Repair

9784 Coors Blvd. NW, Suite F

Albuquerque, NM 87114


(Also has a Farmington location)

Pharmacies not accepting new Suboxone patients

Mon Dec 22, 2014 6:51 pm

I just changed my suboxone doctor and switched to a new doctor closer to home. After I left the doctors office I drove to my pharmacy to fill it and where I have filed all my perscription including from my previous doctor just a month ago and my pharmacy refused to fill it. They told me they were not accepting new patients. What does this mean not accepting new patients? I am an existing patient of Suboxone and they just filled my prescription a month ago so why are they refusing to fill my prescription now? I didn’t really think too much about it so I went to other pharmacies and then called around to others neat my home and no one would fill my prescription because they said they were not accepting new patients of Suboxone. So at this time I have called over 20 places today trying to find someone who will fill my prescription and they have all told me they do not accept new patients. So what am I supposed to do? I just paid $375 today for my new patient monthly fee and now I can’t even find a place to fill my prescription…

Kylie: “there WAS an investigation into Watauga Recovery Center for going over the 100 patient limit. And you really stood behind, “We felt like we couldn’t turn those patients away.’ Anything else you want to say about that now, since at one point you all were seeing over 100 patients yourselves.”

Dr. Reach: “Well, what we did is worked with the DEA and provided them with a plan of action where we were going to get in compliance with the law. That included removing patients from our list that were not compliant with their therapy…

Junior Member

Below is the letter I sent to Wounded Warrior Project and all of my State Senators and Congressman and still no help. I am 100% disabled veteran suffering from Chronic pain, PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. They lied to me and said if I gave up my benzos I could get in their Suboxone/subutex program then denied me again. I asked for my benzos back and was denied them. I have no meds for my PTSD. I will die from complications from this dependence/addiction. The one sub Dr. nearby told me to take my money to the street as he new of no pharmacy that would fill it. I called every one nearby and was told they would not fill it. My Pain Mgt Dr dropped me last month for being 2 pills short. Now i must depend solely on the street. I can not do this.

I am 100% disabled Navy Veteran (PTSD). I have been on Oxycodone for over ten years for chronic pain in my joints prescribed by civilian Drs. About three years ago it became clear to me that it was no longer helping my pain but I had become dependent on it and needed to stop. The Drs. had me on the maximum dose and could go no higher. But I could not function at all with out it. I made several attempts to get help from the Mountain Home VA (30) miles and was turned away and told I was not a candidate for help. One time I went there for help begging for opioid replacement therapy but was put on the psyc ward for seven days suffering from withdrawal then sent home. I was able to stop the Oxycodone by going to a methadone clinic in NC every day which cost me over $900.00 a month. I quit after 3 months as I could not afford it. I once again tried to get the help I needed at Mtn Home by contacting my Congressman but was turned away again. I plan to start at a subutex/suboxone clinic nearby soon. It will cost me $400.00 a month for each visit and also the cost of the medication and it is also very expensive. I have Hep C and I have researched this and found suboxone has a second ingredient that is not good for any one with Hep C so I will have to have subutex. Subutex is in the VA formulary. I guess this is a complaint and a request as I would like to come to the Salem VA (150 miles) to get this help. I was told the last time at the Mtn Home ER that I would never get it at this hospital were their words and told me to go to Salem. It is a shame that I have to spend this kind of money (my VA Compensation check) for the help I need when my local VA could but will not help.

Snyder Drugs refuses to fill bupe prescriptions for men

People knowledgeable about buprenorphine and Suboxone know that Suboxone and buprenorphine are virtually the same medication. People who inject both drugs in studies will give higher average ‘liking scores’ for buprenorphine, but there is considerable overlap between the two medications. Patients in my practice who admit to injecting Suboxone or buprenorphine (to make it last longer) before they could find a certified doctor claim that they found no difference between the two medications. I’ve described other reasons why adding naloxone to buprenorphine is more of a marketing ploy than a deterrent to diversion. For example, naloxone lasts about an hour in the bloodstream, whereas buprenorphine lasts for days, and the high-affinity binding of buprenorphine is not significantly impacted by the comparatively-weaker drug, naloxone.

The standard narrative, that holds that Suboxone is ‘safer’ than buprenorphine, relies on false assumptions. Many people who should know better believe that naloxone provides some measure of safety in people who don’t inject the medication— that the naloxone ‘blocks euphoria’ or that the naloxone ‘provides the ceiling effect.’ This is, off course, hogwash (do they use that term outside of the Midwest?).

The importance of naloxone is so low that the standard of care in pregnant women is to prescribe ONLY buprenorphine based on the argument that it makes no sense to expose a fetus to an extra medication (naloxone), when that medication doesn’t do anything. The natural question is ‘why expose ANYONE to an extra medication, when that medication doesn’t do anything?’

Opioid dependence is a potentially-fatal condition. People trying to rebuild their lives, after active addiction, frequently begin from a position of unemployment and poverty— and no health insurance. If lucky enough to find a physician who prescribes Suboxone or buprenorphine, their access is severely impacted by the cost of the medication. If their doctor prescribes Suboxone film, they will pay over $500 per month out of pocket. If their doctor instead prescribes buprenorphine, the cost drops to $135—saving almost 75%. But if that patient lives in remote Michigan and wanders into Snyder Drugs, the cost for the same amount of buprenorphine is over $450. I assume that Snyder Drugs has access to US Mail, UPS, FedEx, and all the other delivery methods available in Wisconsin (i.e. they do not rely on bobsleds). We often hear of criminal charges against people who gouge prices for generators during storms. Given that the current epidemic of opioid dependence has killed for more people than the typical hurricane, is it reasonable for a drugstore to mark up life-saving medications by 200%?

It gets worse. Snyder Drugs has a policy that forbids filling prescriptions for men for buprenorphine, but allows filling of the same prescriptions for women—pregnant or not—based on their conviction that men are more likely to divert buprenorphine than women. Men prescribed buprenorphine must drive hours to find a pharmacy that will fill their legal, legitimate prescription; several hours to avoid gouging altogether…

The gas chamber for chronic pain

(4 days ago) Heidi H. from Rogers, AR writes:
My brother in law commited suicide last year because his VA doc suddenly, and without talking to him began weaning him off a high dose of Morphine. He had so much pain that he could barely move around. He couldn’t get anyone at the VA to return his calls… he said he just can’t live with pain and the VA was torturing him. Then he put a bullet through his head. Has the VA decided that it’s preferable that disabled vets just end their own lifes instead of live with an opiate addiction?

I, myself, have been living with unresolved/unaddressed disabling level of chronic pain in my eyes for six years. It effects every waking minute of my life. Doctors would do nothing to determine cause of pain manage my pain. I keep ice packs on my eyes for much of the day. I can’t go anywhere. I can’t enjoy anything anymore… since the pain won’t let up. I gave up on doctors. I stopped trying a year ago. I hope whatever it is that causes my pain progresses rapidly, hopefully resulting in my death… I cannot just live like this much longer.

Why don’t they just start putting all of us with severe chronic pain into lethal gas chambers… not only to end our misery… but also to spare any more doctors from being bothered by our quest for a mythical medical doctor who really wants to help us.

(3 days ago) Someone from Pullman, WA writes:
I live in chronic pain, everyday of my life. I hate to admit it, but I have often wanted to end my life, due to my pain, and the exhaustion I have due to the struggle. I hate it, but I need pain medication to help ease my pain. The disease I have has no cure; I have nothing I can ” strive for” as far as long term Improvment of my progressive disease. The only way I have a sliver of quality of life , is because of my pain medication. I’m SO sick of being ” labled ” because I need my pain medication. I can’t help but suffer, the way doctor’s are treating patients with chronic pain is horrifying! Some people actually do need pain medications to live, stop the negitive harrassment and labeling that we are ” bad people, doctor shopping, and seeking pain meds ” just because we need relief. I wish some doctors and the DEA could live in my body for a month; then you would completely understand that there are sick people in the world who need pain management to survive what little quality of life they have left.

(2 days ago) Joseph D. from Tucson, AZ writes:
I was diagnosed with stage 1 anal cancer July 15, I am currently undergoing radiation treatment on my rectum. It’s completely removed the skin down there and I’m in so much pain I cannot live my life other then sleeping and on the couch. I have open sores down there, and have had no luck finding a Dr to manage my pain, because they the drs are so afraid of loosing their licenses and keep pushing me off to others. It is sad that I live in so much pain, I do not eat because I don’t want to have a bowel movement. The Dr even went as far as to stick her finger and a plastic device in there causing me to tear and even more pain. I feel I have no rights to being managed. I have enough stress and pain from dealing with this diagnosis, having to fight for pain medication is incomprehensible to me! WE DESERVE TO BE TREATED LIKE HUMANS AND NOT LIVING A LIFE AROUND OUR PAIN. I CANNOT EVEN LEAVE MY HOUSE DUE TO THE PAIN I’M UNDER.

When patients are abandoned

When the DEA closes down a doctor, clinic, or pharmacy, the ones who suffer are the patients. It’s the same when law enforcement closes down a marijuana grow operation:

In an operation that raises questions over the rights and limits of tribal sovereignty, Mendocino County sheriff’s deputies on Sept. 22 raided a medical marijuana grow operation on Indian land just outside Ukiah—targeting a project hailed as a new economic model for cash-strapped tribes. Some 400 outdoor plants were eradicated on lands of the Pinoleville Pomo Nation. Deputies also seized more than 100 pounds of trimmed and drying bud at a Ukiah laboratory run by the tribe where cannabis-infused honey oil was being produced…

PBS NewsHour and Dr. Steve Jenison

Dr. Jenison, too busy to answer my email:

Come to the September New Mexico PBS Science Café and watch a segment of PBS NewsHour and join in a discussion with Dr. Steve Jenison, Medical Advisory Board Chair of the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program. Jenison will provide an expert overview of the clinical and practical therapeutic potential of cannabis and the endocannabinoid system.

Speakers: Dr. Steve Jenison, Medical Advisory Board Chair of the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program
Date: Saturday, September 26
Time: 10:00am – 12noon
Location: New Mexico PBS Studios 1130 University Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM

Admission is FREE but a Reservation is Required. Seats are limited and available on a first come, first served basis. RSVP to Rose Poston: 277-2396 or Online.

I already know everything I need to know about the efficacy of cannabis. What I need is for the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program to somehow become affordable, and for dispensaries to sell quality bud. Why don’t you work on that, Dr. Jenison?

God (and Catholics) believe in suffering

Why Right-Wing Christian Leaders Are Often Indifferent to Needless Suffering

This is not a fringe position in the Catholic Church, which has long extolled the spiritual virtues of suffering. Mother Teresa’s attraction to pain shaped her ministry to the dying, and one of the most serious criticisms of her Calcutta homes was that patients were denied modern medical care to relieve pain even when the Missionaries of Charity had the funding to do so. By her own report, Mother Teresa once told a woman to imagine that her suffering was kisses from Jesus. “Suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness, are nothing but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close that he can kiss you.”

“Tell Jesus to stop,” the woman responded…

One place this clash of values is playing out is in hospitals and outpatient clinics across the U.S. that have been absorbed by Catholic healthcare corporations. The mergers leave no non-Catholic care option in many communities—as, for example, in seven Washington counties where all hospitals are now Catholic owned or managed. By design, merger contracts between secular and Catholic health care systems often require that once secular institutions become subject to the “Ethical and Religious Directives” of the Catholic bishops. Like ALL’s meme and Mother Teresa’s homes, these religious directives promote suffering over patient choice in dying:

Catholic health care institutions may never condone or participate in [death with dignity] in any way. . . . Patients experiencing suffering that cannot be alleviated should be helped to appreciate the Christian understanding of redemptive suffering…

Given the words of the Bible writers, and given the words of Christianity’s patriarchs, one can understand the muddled mentality that allows right-wing Christians to feel virtuous while promoting policies that force people to suffer against their will. If only pain has the power to cleanse sin, and only God gets to decide when enough is enough, then offering people choices about the beginnings or end of life denies the devil his due.

Just one reason (among many) why I’m an atheist.

Study: Deregulation of TV news to blame for political polarization

But don’t blame the voters, says a new study, which instead ties the trend to the Telecommunication Act of 1996, a train wreck legislation that was supposed to remove the shackles of regulation, let a million stars twinkle, and so on and so forth.

What happened instead, says the study by Washington State University, is that the television industry was no sooner deregulated than it raced to consolidate, resulting in slashed newsroom budgets and ratings competitions that turned into a race to the bottom…