Plus: How to lower your drug costs

Americans take a lot of medicines – and many resort to risky behaviors to afford them. That’s according to a recent national telephone poll by public-education project Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs.  Forty-four percent of Americans take an average of 4.5 prescription drugs; 16 percent say they take 7 or more.

To afford those medications, more than half (57 percent) of those polled reported taking steps in the last year—some of them potentially dangerous—to curb high drug costs. That included not filling a prescription (17 percent), skipping a scheduled dose (14 percent), and taking an expired medication (14 percent).

The cost of medications affect people’s wallets in other ways, too. Three in 10 (29 percent) reported cutting back on entertainment and dining out; 19 percent spent less on groceries, and 15 percent put off paying other bills in order to afford their prescription drugs. And, people without drug coverage from their insurance were hit the hardest.

What to do if you face high costs

Don’t wait for your doctor to bring up the cost of medications—he or she may not. Instead,  ask

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Today’s blog post is a guest post from Tony at StuffSeniorsNeed.com, a great site dedicated to helping the elderly along with their caregivers.

So “What does StuffSeniorsNeed.com do?”

The best way to tell that is through my personal story, and while it is a long story I will condense it to be brief and to answer the question above.  It involves my mother’s physical decline, far earlier than I ever would have expected, and the heart attack she took at age 68.

This heart attack, which she did survive, put me in the role of being a very unprepared caregiver.  All of a sudden I needed to become her power of attorney, health care proxy, find all of her financial information to apply for the 5-year look back period for Medicaid, learn how to check out a nursing home to make sure Mom was getting the best care possible, and 100’s of other things that I never foresaw I would have to do this early in life.

Ten years from now, maybe, but not now.

That’s the first thing I do for the readers of my blog as well as for the attendees to the seminars where I speak. Warn them that they need to be prepared now for their

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NeedyMeds is pleased to announce our latest partnership with SafeNeedleDisposal.org! In honor of this new partnership we are spotlighting this week’s blog post on the safe disposal of needles.

Needle disposal is a public health and safety issue that is commonly overlooked. The problem is that there are limited options for safe disposal of needles which leads to dangerous situations for the public – including injury and the spread of infectious disease. Additionally, information about safely disposing of syringes and needles is difficult to come by and often misunderstood. Each year “approximately 9 million syringe users will administer at least 3 billion injections outside health care facilities.” Many of these users are unaware of how to properly dispose of their needles, and “simply throw their used needles in the trash or flush them down the toilet, posing a risk of injury or potential infection from diseases such as Hepatitis B or C and HIV to anyone who encounters them.”

But Who is Really at Risk?

The group of people who are put in the

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It’s an unfortunate reality that there are people who seek to take advantage of those in need through dishonest means. In the medical field there are those offering treatments that can be unnecessary or harmful or selling counterfeit medications. Other websites claim to offer medication assistance or information for a fee, only to take the money without fulfilling any of their promises.

Some of these sites claim to be NeedyMeds or be otherwise associated with our organization.  Don’t be deceived—NeedyMeds will never charge users for our information or access to assistance programs.

There are warning signs to be aware of to avoid potential scams:

  1. The program makes outlandish promises. If something appears too good to be true, it likely is. For example, a site may claim it can get you any or all your medications for free. No site can have such wide-reaching relationships with all possible pharmaceutical companies to be able to offer such services.
  2. The program asks for checking account or banking information. We at NeedyMeds never ask for such information. An easy work-around is to always use a credit card (not a debit card) when paying fees; credit card companies can help if you are ripped off.
  3. If you can’t get a real person who is kind and compassionate on the phone, there is reason to be suspicious. Fast-talking salespeople are not interested in helping you—they are interested in your money.
  4. If a program won’t answer your questions to your satisfaction, then be cautious. For example, one site declared they gave part of their profits to a non-profit but would never say which non-profit.
  5. If a program’s fees are larger than those available from competitors, it is likely they are more interested in making a profit. Be sure to shop around and research the fees commonly associated with the services you require.
  6. If a program offers no physical address, be wary. Many companies use a post office box, but they should still have a physical location.
  7. If there are concerns, check with the Better Business Bureau. This is not a guarantee that the company is legitimate, but it can be a good indicator or can make you aware of complaints against the organization.
  8. Search the program or company name online. Make note of complaints or issues other users experienced.
  9. If a program asserts that you need a company to help you apply, they are being dishonest. Most Pharmaceutical Assistance Program (PAP) applications are sent by the patients directly to the program with no assistance from any company. There are also local organizations that offer application assistance for no fee.
  10. If a program claims to possess special knowledge or can get you medications faster, remember that all the information regarding assistance programs can be found for free on our site. It’s also important to know that PAPs do not give priority to applications sent by companies.

NeedyMeds was founded on the idea that information on programs that can help with the cost of medication and healthcare should be available in one easy-to-navigate spot on the web—for free. Consumers can find all the information on brand name and generic name prescription patient assistance

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According to the National Cancer Institute, Prostate cancer is a cancer that forms in the tissues of the prostate gland that usually affects older men. What is the prostate gland? From the Prostate Cancer Foundation: “The normal prostate is a small, squishy gland about the size of a walnut. It sits under the bladder and in front of the rectum…It seems to supply substances that facilitate fertilization and sperm transit and survival.” Prostate cancer affects 1 in 6 men, making it the most common non-skin cancer in America. There are a number of factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer, including:

  • Age – More than 65% of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over age 65.
  • Race – African-American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer and are 2.5 times more likely to die from the disease.
  • Genetics – You are twice as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer if your father or brother has the disease.
  • Geography – Living above 40 degrees latitude (north of Philadelphia for example) raises your risk of dying from prostate cancer due to inadequate sunlight, and therefore vitamin D levels, during the winter months.

Symptoms of prostate cancer vary from patient to patient. Common symptoms include frequent urination, difficulty urinating including weak or interrupted flow or painful or burning sensation, and blood in urine or semen among others.

What Help is Available?

We have many resources for prostate cancer listed on the NeedyMeds website. Our prostate cancer information page is the best place to start. This page lists

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