In a previous guest post, Alison Lawton of the Access Our Medicine Initiative wrote on the importance of affordable medications and AOM’s goal to reach 100,000 signatures for their Access Our Medicine Declaration. Having achieved their goal, they are now planning a worldwide Thunderclap of awareness.

When we launched the Access Our Medicine Initiative on World Health Day last year I didn’t know if anyone would respond.

We knew that the price of medicine was rising for life-changing medicines with devastating consequences for everyone, around the globe. We learned of people choosing between food and medicine, being pushed into poverty and even dying because they couldn’t afford medicine they needed.

But I also knew that for many people the issue of access to affordable medicine just isn’t top of mind until they or their loved ones become sick. By then its too late – who has energy to talk about ways to improve the system and make medicine affordable at the moment when the priority is on advocating health for themselves or their friends and family?

And yet, the response has been overwhelming. People

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Medicines can only work in patients who can take them. If we have medicines today to treat people and they can’t access them, then we have to make changes. That’s why we launched the Access Our Medicine Initiative.

The Access Our Medicine Initiative launched in April 2014 inviting people to sign an online declaration with a simple statement – that everyone should have access to affordable medicine. Since then, over 75,000 people from 160 countries and a diverse range of organizations representing more than 400 million people have signed the Declaration at www.accessourmedicine.com.

Why are so many people interested?

Even with the Affordable Care Act, over 30 million Americans will not be able to afford their medicine. People are making sacrifices for their medicine, or are risking their health by sacrificing their medicine. Nobody should have to choose between filling prescriptions and buying groceries.

As part of the Access Our Medicine Initiative, we want to support critical organizations such as NeedyMeds offering immediate support to those patients and families needing access to medicine. I’m grateful to have NeedyMeds’

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We hear in the media of mistakes made in hospitals including errors in administering medication. A new study shows that a child is improperly medicated at home every eight minutes. The study published by the journal Pediatrics is based on data from the National Poison Database System between the years of 2002 and 2012. The statistics don’t reflect the real scope of the problem since not everyone reports an error to poison control or may even be aware they made a mistake.

In the 10-year time period, 696,937 children younger than 6 years old experienced out-of-hospital medication errors. The most common error was double-dosing, or inadvertently giving a child the same medicine twice. The data also suggests that errors are more likely to occur with younger children, in part because older children can tell someone they’ve already taken their dose. Other common mistakes are caused by confusion with units of measure or administering the wrong medicine. Over 93% of medication errors could be managed without going to a healthcare facility. Unfortunately, 25 children died from out-of-hospital medication errors, a majority of which

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Most of us have heard of clinical trials, but many are unclear as to what they are and how to find them. When it comes to creating life-changing drugs and innovative new therapies, medical research is critical. And being so actively engaged in your own health care can grant you access to the most ground-breaking treatment options available. It also allows you to interact with leading medical experts from some of the most preeminent medical facilities in the country.

Additionally, participating in a clinical trial helps the medical community better understand worldwide health concerns. In turn, new and effective treatment options can be explored and developed. Volunteering in this way can be rewarding on many levels.

What exactly is a clinical trial?

Clinical research studies are designed to improve human health and well-being by exploring new medical treatments, preventions, diagnostics and medications. Evaluating the safety and efficacy of new approaches is what drives clinical trials, and also what propels advancements in global health.

Clinical trials fall into one of four categories:

Phase I studies assess the safety

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Past blogs have discussed various ways to save on medication costs – pharmaceutical patient assistance programs, drug discount coupons, drug discount card, etc. Let me tell you about another way you may be able to cut your medication costs.

At NeedyMeds we receive calls from people who can’t afford their medications. Most are taking just a few drugs, but a significant number are taking 10 or more drugs – sometimes 20 or more drugs. According to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 82% of American adults take at least one medication and 29% take five or more medications.

Why are so many people taking so many medicines? In some cases the person has multiple diseases, all requiring their own medications. But sometimes not all the medicines are no longer needed. Here are a few reasons why this may occur:

Step Therapy

This is an approach used to treat many diseases. Let’s say your doctor discovers you have high blood pressure – hypertension. Your doctor would take a stepped approach to treatment. First, she would address lifestyle issues such as weight control, tobacco use, exercise, etc.

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