Wednesday, May 17, 2017

When the Colds Won't Go

I am on my second round of sinus stuff. I was quite sick at the first of April, then last week I was back at the doctor yet again with a severe ear infection and sinus drainage. She gave me a Z-pak, which is a 5-day antibiotic.

Within 24 hours of taking the last pill, though, the sore throat, stuffy ears, and headache have returned. I have sent my doctor a note asking her if I should wait it out or does she have another suggestion. (*Update: she said to wait it out, but rest.)

I prefer not to take antibiotics but sometimes I need more than a single Z-pak to rid my body of an infection. I have a poor immune system and bad bugs seem to love it. But I also know that taking antibiotics has risks.

These days my concerns are not only with the actual medicines, but with the generics that are forced upon us by the insurance companies. My recent Z-pak was a generic one. Does it work as well as the name brand? Perhaps not. Maybe that is why my throat hurts again.

One drug I take regularly smells hideous, like sulfur, but it is not a sulfur drug. The brand-name drug does not have this odor.

Not only that, whenever the pharmacy decides it will save $0.0001 cents if it changes brands, the medication change frequently does not work as well for me. When this is a drug for blood pressure, that can be problematic.

One of my medications, Synthroid, which I know thousands of people take for thyroid issues, does not work at all for me if I take a generic, so I pay more for the brand name. A drug that has been around for 30 years and which used to cost me $2 or so now costs me $35 a month. There is no reason for that drug to cost that much.

About 45 days ago, I picked up a 60-pill bottle of Loratadine, (generic over-the-counter Claritin) where I have been purchasing it for years, and noticed that the pills are no longer round. They are oval. I have no idea if these are made by a different company because the generic is under a store name. My guess is they are. I also am wondering if my recent spat of sinus infections is a result of having a generic antihistamine that isn't working as well as it once did because the drug manufacturer has changed and the drug is not the same.

This used to not be a problem. There was a time in this country when we trusted that the FDA was taking care of us and that if a drug was on the market, it had been tested and found to be safe. We assumed generics were created equally. They still tell us they are, but doctors who are paying attention know better. Pharmacists and their assistants know better. They will tell you so but they don't know what to do about it.

This is not a recent development, so don't blame the ACA. This began in 1992 with the implementation of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), which was created by Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. It authorizes the FDA to collect fees from companies that produce certain human drug and biological products. Since the passage of PDUFA, user fees have played an important role in expediting the drug approval process.

That means that the drug companies are paying the FDA to approve their drugs. Does that make sense? It doesn't make sense to me. That is like taking a whole bag of dog food out to your dog and expecting it to eat only a meal-sized portion each day instead of the entire bag.

PDUFA must be reauthorized every five years. It was renewed in 1997 (PDUFA II), 2002 (PDUFA III), 2007 (PDUFA IV), and 2012 (PDUFA V). On July 9, 2012, President Barrack Obama signed into law the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA), which includes the reauthorization of PDUFA through September 2017. The FDASIA is basically a stipulation allowing the FDA to collect more authorized fees.

I want to trust that the drugs I take are good. I don't. I want to be healthy and I take steps to make that happen, but I am not getting healthy. Not only is the drug industry suspect, but so is the food industry. I grew up eating things that most likely have set me up for metabolic syndrome. This is no one's fault; who knew that a TV dinner full of sodium and sugar would cause problems 30 years later? But my eating habits are not the best, mostly because I dislike cooking, and try as I might I find I cannot stay away from the chocolate and sugar. They are like an addiction to me, and I suspect they probably are.

All of which is a long way of saying I have become a jaded consumer. I trust, I verify, and then swallow with great hesitation.


Sources:
https://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/UserFees/PrescriptionDrugUserFee/default.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_and_Drug_Administration_Safety_and_Innovation_Act (Yes, I know, Wikipedia is not a good source but this blog entry isn't being paid for, it is my opinion.)
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/prescription/etc/links.html#pdufa
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prescription_Drug_User_Fee_Act


1 comment:

  1. Interesting information, thank you. Sorry you feel bad and I hope you feel better soon..
    Here is some get well flowers that won't cause you any problems, though not as pretty as real ones at least they won't make you feel worst.💐

    ReplyDelete

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