Showing posts from January, 2010
So you have osteopenia? Now what?

As reported on NPR (go to or directly to,
osteopenia began as a term invented to label test subjects who do NOT have osteoporosis, which is a condition of low bone density. Osteoporosis in the 1990's had just begun to be treated with a new drug by Merck called Fosamax (alendronate). Unfortunately for Merck you needed to have a bone density scan to be properly diagnosed. The scan was expensive and usually not covered under insurance (surprise, surprise). The machines were also expensive and only large medical centers had them. So Merck had this great drug to treat an illness that few would be diagnosed with. What to do?

Well, if you're a fancy schmancy big pharma company you decide, Hey! What was that term used for people who DON'T have osteoporosis? Yeah, that one: Osteopenia. We'll just treat that one! And, we'll buy up a bone density machine maker and Presto! C…
OK, now for something completely different...

For a while now I've gotten off on a tangent, speaking of insurance and political issues. Soapboxing, basically. But I began this blog as a way to let people know what pharmacy is truly about, what it is like being behind the counter, and also to give some hints as to how better to utilize your pharmacy.

So here's one: People want to save money, right? Well, go to
and you can see how much your medication costs in your area. I put in Lisinopril 10mg, for a typical one month supply dosing, just because it is so common. In my area, it turns out I could buy #30 of these babies for anywhere from $3.33 to $20.89. Quite a difference. I imagine the lower tier belongs to one of the supermarket chains competing with Walmart and their $4 list of meds.

These chain discount lists are a wonderful way to save money. (They will tell you that they still make money on these drugs but that's baloney. They are a loss lea…
The Fallen Wounded

Massachusetts has spoken and the rest of us may pay a pretty penny in lives and money for it. With the surprise election of Scott Brown, the Republican nay-sayers now can alter the future of health care in this country. Perhaps it was the fact that Massachusetts already has mandated insurance for its citizens that caused such indifference to the remainder of the country.

It is well documented that a person dies in this country due to private insurance every half hour. We care more about smokers than we do about people who lack insurance…and access to care. Surprisingly that includes the Christian right, despite a clear mandate to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” The “moral majority” seems to have made a pact with the devil and will support anything other than caring for neighbors. The attitude of many of my Christian friends is this: I got mine, all’s right with the world—to heck with you.

Some have the mistaken opinion that health care access is plentiful. Just go int…
The Christian Church and the Lost Opportunity

The Christian Church has but one job, given it by the Lord Jesus Christ with these words:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. [Matthew 28:19-20]

Ah, but here’s the rub: How exactly do you make disciples? There is the method of the Taliban whereby a military dictatorship is set up and everyone is simply ordered to be religious, whatever that might mean. Then there is the method of inculcation, the preferred means by which moms all over the world bring up their children under the favored instruction of gentle, and ongoing, instruction. A more subtle technique is to simply live as Christ would have us live, and as others see us living in the Spirit as God intended and as God instructed in His Holy Word, then discipleship will be transfer…

Norway cures the superbug!

Norway discovers "cure" for superbugs

Though not technically a cure, as it is not a cidal chemical agent nor some fancy schmancy surgery, Norway has indeed found a way around the problem of the MRSA superbug. First, many may not see this as a huge problem. It is. More people die from MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus) than from AIDS in the U.S. (and 48,000 people die in the U.S. from hospital acquired infections). Across the world, especially in Japan--perhaps the country with the highest reputation for high tech medicine in the world--MRSA costs billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives. So what did Norway do to virtually eliminate the bug in their country?

They banned antibiotics. In all but the most severe cases, doctors do not, even cannot, prescribe antibiotics. Here in the U.S. if you have a cough or some sniffles we hop in our car and see our providers expecting to get a prescription for an antibiotic. And our expectations are thoroughly met. Off we …
Exchange or refund?

This is the season for exchanges and refunds. Presents are returned to the customer service counters across the land and exchanged for other things of different size, different color, or just something altogether cash.

Apparently our political "servants" in Washington, D.C. had this in mind with the recent healthcare bill. The Senate version creates "exchanges" in every single state, whereby we the people can come and shop for health insurance. I have no bone to pick with the idea of mandatory insurance coverage--it's the only way to make the pool of recipients large enough to matter--but let's take a look at what it does to government in general in the country.

Fifty states will have to create fifty new bureaucracies. Now who can say among you out there that that will be a good thing? I live here in the fiscally challenged state of New York, a state that a month ago almost couldn't pay its bills, despite having proper…