Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Let's Save Some Money!

I was struggling to open a bottle the other day and ripped off the quadrillion-folded glued-on little package insert that came stuck to it, as I often do. A while back I remember reading that the cost to the drug company of printing, processing and attaching these little manufacturers' drug information inserts to each bottle is phenomenal ---- I don't remember the exact figure but I was really amazed by it. I also thought there was talk of discontinuing these things to the tune of millions in savings, since all this information is accessible on-line, on handheld devices or yes, -- the ol' PDR.

I'm not sure if this is still in the works, but it seems like a great way to save money and decrease waste. How often does anyone look at these things? I can't say I've never painstakingly unfolded one, put on the 18x magnifying lenses and searched whether or not it contains red dye #2, but whenever I do it's kind of a last resort. My main concern is that the patient has the instructions for use, as for an inhaler, or (if I'm really on top of things) a Med Guide --- but these things are usually separate anyway.

I bet if the drug companies did away with those things AND direct-to-consumer advertising, they might just be able to lower the prices on a few of their products.

And while we're at it, I don't need the bottle of tablets to come inside a little box, too. I bet those little boxes cost money to make...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some of the packaging makes me laugh, especially things where you have a box, then a bottle. The daftest thing is the big eveil cytotoxic medications. Now I understand that these medicines have hazards when being handled, but this is how mine arrive.

We have a blue plastic box, inside this is a plastic bag, inside that is a brown cardboard box, inside that is a plastic baggy, inside that is a tablet box and inside that is the final blister strips. No I know tablets are pretty advanced now with all sorts of technology, but i'm pretty sure the 6 layers of protection to prevent them pouncing on me are a bit excessive, and awfully wasteful.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

I SO agree with you on this. I get them in the samples, and always toss them in the recycling. Such a waste to even be printing and distributing them.

If I have questions, I look them up on ePocrates or in the PDR.

Anonymous said...

I like to have the info leaflet. As a patient, rather than a pharmacist, I actually need to read them. The information may be available online, but I wouldn't know where to find it, or if it was for the correct generic and up-to-date. (Different generics, different dyes etc.)

In the UK, every box or bottle I receive comes with the leaflet attached, and every time my medication changes, I read all the leaflets for everything I take. I've managed to detect potentially serious interactions, and identify the early signs of side effects.

Arguably, my pharmacist or GP should have been aware of the interactions, but I am currently on eight medications, prescribed by two different specialists and my GP. I don't rely on anyone else to remember all the details for me.

Maybe in the US, patients don't bother to manage their own medications, but they should have the information available if they want to.

Anonymous said...

to the anonymous patient from the UK above i thank you, as a pharmacist it gladdens my heart to hear about patients acutally taking an interest and responsibility in their own medication. Too many people rely on someone else. Obviously i dont know your case, but i have heard of similar cases where people get ill by having a GP, a hospital specialist, a high street pharmacy and a hospital pharmacy in use. With the current lack of a national database, we all have different records for you so interactions do sadly get missed. If only those people had been sensible enough to pick up their leaflet and read it throughly.

Frantic Pharmacist said...

Just to clarify, I am a stickler for providing all the necessary patient information leaflets. What I'm referring more to here are the manufacturer's package inserts that come attached to many of our pharmacy stock bottles and almost always end up in the trash. These are not something we would normally supply to patients as they are more technically written.

Damian said...

Sites like this wouldn't necessarily have to exist if everyone just exercised their option to not let the country's system be your only hope. I've been suffering with BPD for over 10 years, and the financial pain is enough to deserve a prescription itself. Buy everything online from foreign pharmacies and 1/2 your troubles are solved. I know it is lame to plug companies and such, but I've been buying from one for so long (an Indian Pharmacy; here, for those of you that care... I'm a devout Christian and we believe in helping others, unlike your average amoral corporate scumbag)... you have no idea how much more energy I can focus on actually living my life instead of dealing with insurance and the rest of the scammers in the pharmaceutical companies who want to charge hundreds upon hundreds of dollars per month for a bottle that weighs a few ounces. It's really quite ridiculous, and I've decided not to be part of that anymore.

Jennifer Draper said...

I prefer cheap meds. Thatwhy I go for generic.