Last summer the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global) launched a campaign to raise awareness of counterfeit drugs from foreign online pharmacies.  This year, they have drafted a letter to the U.S. Congress to encourage them to oppose proposals that allow American consumers to buy Health Canada-approved medication from “legitimate” Canadian online pharmacies.

Buying medications from other countries has been an idea proposed to combat the high cost of prescriptions in the United States. Starting in 1999 politicians began filling buses with senior constituents and driving them to Canada, starting with then-Representative Bernie Sanders from Vermont. The seniors would travel with prescriptions written by American doctors; once in Canada, a Canadian doctor would rewrite the prescription and then have it filled at a Canadian pharmacy at a fraction of the U.S. cost. One woman’s breast cancer drug, which cost $110 for a one-month supply in Maine, could be bought in Canada for only $12.

Since the advent of the internet, the process to get prescriptions from across the Canadian border has become seemingly easier but

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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

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In 2012, President Obama declared September National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  Social media has taken to many users posting pictures of comic book heroes in an effort to spread awareness of childhood cancer throughout the month. For many, September is a time to honor and remember families affected by these rare diseases and raise support to find treatments and cures.  Every year, 15,780 children under 21 years old are diagnosed with cancer in the US. It is estimated that 25% of them will not survive.  NeedyMeds has information on programs that offer various kinds of assistance for children, their families, and survivors whose lives have been touched by cancer.

NeedyMeds’ Diagnosis-Based Assistance area of the site has information on over 100 national and local programs supporting patients with Childhood Cancer.  These programs offer anything from financial assistance for medical expenses or living expenses for those unable to work

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In previous blog posts, we have detailed a relatively new method for fundraising for medical expenses called crowdfunding along with our own crowdfunding platform, HEALfundr. Recently, there has been some news regarding the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a crowdfunding project that made us want to touch upon some key differences between HEALfundr and other crowdfunding platforms.

This month, the FTC formally charged the creator of a Kickstarter campaign with deception by spending crowd-raised funds on himself and unrelated projects instead of the board game represented in his campaign. Using the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform, intended for creative or entrepreneurial projects, the creator raised over $122,000 from 1,246 backers who hoped to receive the board game in return for their pledges. The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection found that the creator spent most of the money on unrelated personal expenses and licenses for a different project. The order imposes a $111,793.71 refund to those who pledged, but the judgment is suspended due to the creator’s inability to pay.

This kind of development can raise a lot of

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Last summer, we wrote about the Ice Bucket Challenge in support of the ALS Association. This year, a young Bruins fan’s viral video has launched a new awareness campaign. Liam Fitzgerald, 8 years old, was seen fist-bumping Boston Bruins players during their warm-up last November, and captured the hearts of hockey fans around the nation. In 2011, Liam “kicked cancer’s butt,” and is now working on raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with his own “Fist Bump Challenge.” Less bracing than a bucket of ice water, Liam’s campaign asks people to post pictures or videos of themselves fist bumping each other on social media and donating $5—$1 for each finger and thumb—and then nominating five more people to participate in the challenge.

Leukemia is a cancer that affects blood and bone marrow and develops when blood cells produced in the bone marrow grow out of control. It’s estimated that over 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with leukemia every year and 24,000 die from the disease annually.

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