Archive for

Purchasing Medication From Abroad – What You Need to Know

Medications from Abroad – What You Need to Know

Many of us have heard about cheaper medications that can be purchased outside the United States. These purchases are usually made on-line and in most cases are made from pharmacies operating in Israel or Canada. Given the passing of the new “Health Care Reform” (which is a topic of much discussion by itself) – it is a good time to take a look at this phenomenon and see what it is all about.

The first thing one must ask oneself is why?

Why purchase medications from outside the United States? The answer is simple, one can get the same brand name medications abroad for far less money – in some cases even up to a 500% saving (yes you read that right). For example Azilect a Parkinson’s medication manufactured by Teva (an Israeli company that happens to be the world’s largest manufacturer of medications) can be purchased abroad for about $190 – where as that same medication cost $385 at your local pharmacy (that makes a 50% saving). Now the reason for this amazing saving is simple – prescription drug pricing in the US is not Government regulated therefore the prices they charge are high. Don’t blame your local pharmacist – he is making a small margin for all the work he does.

You might not realize this but there are a number of reasons for one to purchase medications abroad. First of all, there are about 49 Million Americans that don’t have any health insurance at all. The reasons why they don’t have insurance are many -some are unemployed, or decided not to take insurance, some are self-employed the bottom line is that they don’t have any coverage and medications without coverage are very expensive. So for them buying medication abroad can save them literally thousands of dollars.

A second group of people that can benefit from medications abroad are those people on Medicare who have reached the Medicare gap. The Medicare gap is a clever way the federal government gives people coverage – but does not give them coverage. It is commonly referred to as the “donut hole”. The “donut hole” means that if your prescription medications reach the sum of $2,830 and until your durg medication cost pass $6,440 – one will pay 100% out of pocket (hence the terminology “gap” or “donut hole”). Furthermore, a Medicare patient actually pays the first $310 out of pocket as well – making the total payments up till $6,440 equal to $4,550 out of pocket. According to the new health care plan this is supposed to be phased out by 2020 – but many are skeptical about what will really happen.

The last group of people that can benefit from purchasing medications abroad are those people with a large deductible or a high co-payment. So for example if someone has a $2000 deductible on his policy and he needs to take $3000 worth of medication a year – if he can purchase his medications at a 50% discount he will be paying $1500 annually and he will save himself $500 – and not have to bother with insurance company reimbursement.

One of the questions commonly asked by people is “How do I know the medications I purchase from abroad are good quality?” There are a couple of things you need to look out for.

1. The source of the medications and the type of medications. The source of the medications is exactly that – where do they ultimately come from? For example, one can purchase medicines from a foreign pharmacy in Canada and the medications can come from India, the Philippines, Turkey or Israel. Therefore you should not say – I will not purchase medications from abroad – rather you should make sure where the medications are supplied from. Purchasing medications from Israel is a very safe way to go as Israel is a world leader in Bio-Technology and is proud to have the world’s largest generic (and lately original) pharmaceutical company – Teva.

2. The type of medication you are purchasing. If you are buying a branded medication (say Lipitor) then it is the same as if you buy locally (in some cases it is sold under a different name outside the US – but it is still the same medication). The medication is made under license or by the manufacturer in plants throughout the world. If you are buying a generic brand then you should be sure that it comes from a pharmacy in a country that has standards acceptable to you (like Israel).

3. Dosage and strength of the medications you are purchasing.

4. Pack size, At times you will find that medications with the same name can be sold with a different pack. For example, you might be purchasing your medication in a standard 30 day pack – while abroad it is sold in a 28 day pack

The way to avoid any difficulties is to deal with a reputable pharmacy that has a clear description of the medication on the company web site, or by calling and speaking directly to the pharmacy. You should never purchase prescription medication from a store that does not require you to send in (or fax) an original prescription.

In general ordering from a pharmacy operating outside the US is easy, convenient and can save you a substantial amount of money. The process is straight forward and requires you to provide a current prescription and some information about yourself and your credit card. In most cases the medication should be delivered to your door in a week or so. Be sure to pay attention to delivery times as regular international delivery (as opposed to expedited shipping) can take up to 2-3 weeks to arrive. This should be OK – if you don’t need the medication urgently.

One of the better places to purchase medications is from Israel whose health ministry closely follows FDA guidelines. Furthermore, Israel is home to the worlds largest generic manufacturer – Teva.

In conclusion, purchasing prescription medications outside the United States is convenient, easy and can save you money. Paying attention to which pharmacy you use and some minor naming and packing changes can really make a difference to ones budget during these difficult financial times.

Top Three Reasons Why The Medical Assistant Salary Is So Lucrative

Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” In these trying times, this famous line may not be so practical. Why? If you have five kids to feed and you are a single mom working as a small time business entrepreneur, you will be thinking twice if your salary is good enough for your family. Or if you are the only breadwinner in the family and you have to work your way so that your three siblings can go to school. For sure you will be looking for a job that offers competitive salary and fantastic benefits as most of the jobs today are not enough to support a household. People are beginning to be practical in choosing jobs and livelihood in order to survive.

Health care jobs are estimated to increase by 30.3% from this year up to the year 2014. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 14.3 million people are employed in 2008 in the health care field alone. In other words, the demand for health care jobs is continuously rising because of the advancing medical technology and the increasing human population. With that said, many are attracted to study medical allied courses to prepare them from their future careers. Based on research and surveys, the medical assistant profession is one of the fastest growing health care careers today.

At present, the medical assistants salary ranges from $24,777 to $34,903 each year. These figures are based on the market pricing report of salary.com. They collected the data from thousands of employers and HR departments all over the US. But why is this profession so lucrative?

The Demand Is High
Certainly, the health care profession is a sure stay. It is obvious that health is valuable to people. Since health care professionals are servicing to the improvement of health, the effect of global economic crisis is not that massive as compared to the other line of businesses like automobiles and jewelries. With the high demand for health care professionals like the MAs, hospitals and clinics are offering competitive salaries and fringe benefits to their employees.

Medical Assistants Play A Major Role In The Health Care Delivery System
The roles of MAs in hospitals and outpatient department are very important. They work closely with the doctors, nurses, other medical staff and patients as well. Not only can they handle administrative responsibilities, they can also perform routine medical tasks like handling of medical records of patients, collecting and preparing patients for routine checkups and managing of medicines and specimens. Indeed, they are one of the key contributors in the health care delivery system.

Clinics Offer High Pay For Medical Assistants

If you want to earn well as a medical assistant, you can apply in clinics where they offer better salaries. The pay is high because the MA is specializing in a specific medical area. Then again, when applying in a clinical environment, see to it that your resume is competitive. If you are certified, you get a better chance to get the job. Although, there is no law that is requiring MAs to be certified, it will be a great advantage during the hiring process to show that you are a certified. Remember that certification means higher pay as well.

The health care profession is indeed lucrative. They are the top paying jobs at present. Part of the health care system is the medical assistant. Medical assistants today are not just the ordinary office secretaries; they also play a variety of roles in hospitals and clinics. They deserve proper compensation because they are generally handling administrative and clinical responsibilities.

Notes From the Cockpit – Health Care & Helicopters

I flew a medical helicopter for twenty years. In that time I saw at least one of every illness, trauma, malady, genetic disorder, ailment and medical anomaly known to modern medicine. I saw gunshot wounds, self-inflicted and otherwise, heart attack victims too numerous to recall, electric shocks, pharmocological shock, burns, drownings, highway trauma and farm injuries that convinced me mine was the safer career. I’m not a doctor, don’t even play one on TV, but I was immersed in the so-called health care debate for a long time, from the real grass roots level–the pre-hospital side of things. I can comment on the needs of this society when it comes to health care, and health insurance.

There were a few patients aboard my medical helicopter who had no business being there, but very few. In twenty years, I flew 3,200 medical patients, and I can say that no more than a dozen of those lacked the medical necessity to be flown, rather than driven in an ambulance. Admittedly, some of those few patients could have driven themselves to a hospital. But in any human-devised program some people are going to slip through the cracks, or game the system. There’s no such thing as a perfect plan.

My patients then were, by and large, very ill people. They needed the highest level of medical care available, and at the fastest means of delivery. That was me and my crew in the helicopter. There were, without fail, those who questioned the use of the aircraft, asking about its cost. Our canned response to those folks had a lot of ambiguity, delivered in medicalese, with a dollop of changing the subject. It was obvious when those queries appeared, we said, dismissively, that the inquiree had no personal need of the helicopter, or his (or her) question would not have been posed.

The bottom line of this discussion is, that the helicopter was used only for emergency patient transport, and that determination was always made by someone highly trained and immersed in medical assessment–a physician, EMT, nurse, Paramedic or other professional person. No family member of a patient was authorized to request the helicopter. So, when I lifted from the helipad atop the roof of the hospital, I knew the client who awaited the helicopter was very ill, traumatized, critically injured in some way, or in a life or death situation. I didn’t fly for nosebleeds.

So what’s the point of all this? What lessons are there to learn from all those patient flights? It all centers around a subject near and dear to everyone’s heart just now: Health Insurance.

We all need it. Without health insurance we’re all just one broken leg, a serious burn, medical setback or cancer diagnosis from financial disaster. No reasonable person can dispute this. With no health coverage, we’re at the mercy of the system. Did I fly people who lacked health coverage? Yes, I did. Did they receive care at one of the finest health care institutions in the country? Yes, they did. And hidden in all this prose is the core of the dilemma we face in this country.

Let’s be clear about this. No one lacks health care coverage in America. Not one individual who walks, rides, drives, crawls–or flies into an American emergency room will be turned away. Indeed, in many cases, those lacking insurance coverage who are flown, or drive, or crawl into our towers of medical learning and knowledge, the citadels of health care in America, often receive better medical care than those who hold excellent health care insurance. Again, no one lacks coverage.

What’s this got to do with helicopters? Everything, with a thought to insurance. We’ve reached a point in this society where mission creep has defined health insurance. We buy insurance, and then we expect that policy to take care of virtually all our health care needs–from routine office visits with our physicians, to minor medical crises like bee stings, broken arms, sunburn and measles, to life-threatening events like major falls, heart attacks, cancer treatments, medical crises, you name it, even the flight in the helicopter if need be. We’ve lost sight of what insurance ought to be for, and that is, emergencies. The system we have now is like buying car insurance, and then billing the insuror for our gas and tune ups. It’s equivalent to buying home owner’s insurance, then charging the insuror when the house needs paint.

Plus, no one knows what anything costs. There are no price tags on any ‘product’ available to the medical consumer. I mentioned those who asked about the cost of a flight in the helicopter. As a pilot, I had a vague idea what the cost was, a ballpark figure that was likely well off the mark in many cases, so I used to shun those people. But at least they were asking the question, and those questions aren’t being asked today, so those folks were ahead of the rest of us.

A possible solution would be highly controversial, but would look like this: Everyone would be required to establish a health care resource, an annual pool of funds that the consumer must tap into for all but the most expensive, most critical medical care, like current pre-tax medical set aside programs. Doctor’s office visits would come from this pool; casting a broken leg would be insured. Prescriptions for sunburn medicine come from the pool; burn treatment from a house fire comes from insurance. Removal of a mole or skin lesion, resource pool; treatment for melanoma, insurance. And on and on, decisions made by experts, in consultation with us, the consumers. This system would force people to consider not only whether they need the care or not, but also the actual cost of the care. It would also encourage a patient to shop around for whatever treatment appeared least expensive, resulting in more choices, thus lowering costs of those routine medical interventions.

The model needs to be this: If the person may need a flight in an aircraft, (airplanes do medical flights, too), then their insurance likely will kick in. If they would not be flown under any circumstances, then they may need the coverage of their own pool of resources. In twenty years I never flew a patient with a nosebleed. There were a few patients lacking the need for the helicopter, but very few. Those I flew needed the coverage, even if some didn’t have it. For those lacking coverage, we all paid the bill. I don’t know how much it was, but it wasn’t cheap. And it’s not getting cheaper.