We have covered the rising costs of medications in previous blog posts (at length), often times regarding specific medications that—while being life-changing—only affects a relatively small population. Despite the smaller personal impact of these raising prices, we address them because they are indicative of a much larger issue.  The issue comes into clearer focus when a life-saving auto-injection device that is necessary to survive allergic reactions for as many as 15 million Americans raises its price by over 500%.

EpiPen has become synonymous with epinephrine auto-injectors used by those with severe allergic reactions.  In 2007 a two-pack of EpiPens cost $56.  Today, the same two-pack is now $365. The device itself contains about $1 worth of epinephrine.

Last year, a generic medication for toxoplasmosis—a parasitic infection that often targets individuals with weakened immune systems such as those with AIDS or cancer—increased from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill. Despite relatively low prescription

Read more

Violent crime is a reality throughout the world, including the US.  According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), over 1.1 million violent crimes occurred nationwide in 2014.  The FBI defines violent crime as including aggravated assault, rape, robbery, murder and manslaughter. Despite steady drops in crime rates, violence still affects millions of Americans every year. Victims of violent crimes may suffer financial stress resulting from medical bills, lost wages, or funeral costs. Recovering from violence can be difficult enough; fortunately, there are state programs to help those in need.

The first victim compensation program was created in 1965 in California. By 1972, nine additional states were operating similar programs. The Victims of Crime Act of 1984 established the federal Crime Victims Fund. These programs are funded with fines, fees, and forfeitures from violent offenders rather than tax dollars at both state and federal levels.

There are crime victim compensation programs in every state (and Washington, D.C.).

Read more

Almost two years ago, the Ice Bucket Challenge filled social media feeds with videos and ALS research with donations.  The Challenge prompted athletes, celebrities, Internet personalities, and everyday people to post a video and donate to ALS research.  This year, funds raised from the Challenge are being credited with allowing researchers to identify a common gene found to contribute to the disease.

ALS, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting the function of nerves and muscles that eventually leads to a wasting paralysis.  Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis affects 30,000 Americans with the condition at any given time, and 5600 are newly diagnosed each year. ALS kills an average of two out of every 100,000 people annually.

With the help of millions raised through the Ice Bucket Challenge a global gene sequencing project called Project MinE has taken a huge step in finding a common gene that is responsible for ALS.  The project sequenced

Read more

NeedyMeds’ mission has always been to help patients find help covering the costs of health care expenses. A previous guest post from Consumer Reports outlined the problem patients may face when confronted with expensive prescriptions, sometimes having to choose between needed medicine and groceries for their family.  Two recent studies show that the problem may be growing as out-of-pocket costs for health care are continuing to rise.

According to a study from TransUnion Healthcare, the consumer’s share of healthcare costs rose by 13% from 2014 to 2015. The report also shows that while costs rose, patients had fewer resources to pay for the increase expenses, as the amount of revolving credit had declined.  Out-of-pocket costs include deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.

The University of Michigan conducted a second study that calculated the average out-of-pocket expenses for an inpatient hospital stay for a patient with private insurance was more than $1000, increasing 37% from 2009 to 2013. 

Read more

This past Mother’s Day launched the 17th annual National Women’s Health Week.  Led by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, the goal is to empower women to make their health a priority and raise awareness of the steps one can take to improve their health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends many common measures, such as proper health screenings, staying physically active, eating healthy, and promoting other healthy behaviors. Healthy behaviors include getting enough sleep, being smoke-free, washing your hands, not texting while driving, or wearing a seatbelt, a bicycle helmet, or sunscreen when appropriate. Furthermore, the National Women’s Health Week website has suggestions for women in their 20s to their 90s.

There are also many resources for women in need. In a previous blog post, we detailed the National Breast Cancer and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. Information

Read more