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Pharma | Danny van Leeuwen Health Hats

Pain: The Solution – Many Solutions

By | Advocate, Caregiver, Clinician, ePatient, Podcasts, Researcher | No Comments

You’re in for a treat. Amy Baxter, pediatric emergency physician, pain researcher, and device manufacturer, is the CEO and Founder of Pain Care Labs. We talked about:

  • Pain is inevitable, it’s life. Unnecessary pain is wasteful and it sucks.
  • Doctors’ superpower is writing prescriptions. While lots of research has been done about non-pharm pain, doctors aren’t familiar with it.
  • Public policy doesn’t support non-drug solutions. It funnels people to doctors and medication.
  • Attitude and attention impact pain. If you focus on life rather than pain, the pain can be more manageable. We’re in control.
  • The 1-10 pain scale has limited value unless you’re evaluating what’s not working for acute pain.
  • We could teach our kids about pain differently. Think, dancers and other athletes.
  • While cannabis may be helpful for chronic pain, it’s not a panacea, especially for young brains.

We learned about TENS units, Buzzy, the Meissner Corpusle, the thalamus (the brains CPU/microprocessor), the Schmidt Sting Pain Scale, the IKEA bias,  beta nerves and mechanoreceptors, and more. My head spins.

I think the most important lesson I’ve learned from Amy is that it’s not about the pain, it’s about what we want to do with our lives and how we manage the challenges we face that get in the way, including pain. Let’s take control. It’s the most powerful tool we have.

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$35 or $30,000 (I think) for a lifesaving drug

By | Advocate, ePatient, Leader | No Comments

Who benefits from the murkiness of finding the prices of prescription drugs? Clearly not patients and caregivers.

Today, I’m taking two potentially lifesaving drugs – azithromycin and rituximab.

According to GoodRx.com, azithromycin, prescribed for my pneumonia, has a cash price of $35 with a $10 copay cost to me.  Took me 10 seconds to find this.

I’ve spent more than four hours and I still don’t know how much the rituximab, a chemotherapy infusion for my multiple sclerosis, costs or will cost me. I’m turning 65 next week and I need to select a Medicare Advantage Plan. I spoke with several insurance companies. None can (or will) tell me the cost of Rituximab to them or to me. They differ whether it’s a formulary drug (covered at all). They differ whether they consider it a drug covered under Medicare Part D (see below) or an infusion, covered under Medicare Part B. If Part B it may be included in my premium.

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