1. Health
Trisha Torrey

What Do Drug Shortages, Sports and Concert Tickets Have in Common?

By March 27, 2012

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The entrepreneurial spirit in America is just booming! Yes it is.... And you won't believe how it has reared its (in this case) ugly head, and what the consequences are.

Think for a moment about concert tickets or tickets to favorite sporting events, or popular Broadway plays or any other highly popular events that people want to attend. What happens the minute the most desirable tickets go on sale? Yup - they are purchased by other companies, or sometimes individuals who have no interest in attending that event. No, their interest is in reselling those tickets for a much higher price.

You may find those tickets being sold by scalpers on the street in front of the event's venue. Or you may find them being sold by online scalpers - businesses that do nothing but resell those tickets for big profits.

It turns out there are now pharmaceutical drug scalpers, too - individuals who have set up online pharmacies, some obtaining pharmacy licenses to do so - and their only purpose for doing so is to buy up those very desirable (and in many cases, life saving) drugs so they can mark up the prices and resell them to the infusion centers and individuals who desperately need them.

It's called a gray market. It's based on desperation. Desperation brings BIG BUCKs. And people are getting sicker and dying when they can't get a hold of those drugs they need.

In fact, according to the Associated Press, at least 15 people have died from chemo drug shortages. Other patients are suffering discomfort, or missing out on doses of the drugs they need which, over time, makes them sicker.

Plus, this gray market is costing hospitals, doctors, Medicare and insurers millions of dollars.... When that trickles down, the money is coming out of our pockets - yours and mine - because we are the ones who pay for Medicare and insurance.

The US Congress is taking notice. They are looking into whether or not these online pharmacies are doing anything illegal, and if not, some members of Congress hope to make it illegal. (Of course, when that happens, it only moves from being a gray market to a black market.)

The companies either known to be buying and selling short supply drugs for this purpose are as follows:

  • Priority Healthcare
  • Columbia Med Services and Columbia Medical Distributors,
  • LTC Pharmacy
  • International Pharmaceuticals Inc.

There are possibly dozens more. Congressional representatives have identified more than 20 companies suspected of buying and selling in this gray drug market.

So what can we patients do in the meantime?

For drugs that are not in short supply, the smartest thing is to follow this advice for purchasing drugs online, which includes buying them from Canadian and other foreign pharmacies.

But if the drugs you need are in short supply, you may want to contact your local Congressional representatives if you learn that the drug you need is available from one of these gray market pharmacies. That is information you may need to get from your doctor (if he or she owns the chemo infusion center that treats you) or the hospital you deal with.

More Information: Drug Shortages Cause Big Concerns

How to Safely and Legally Buy Drugs from Online Pharmacies

Purchase Your Drugs Online

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Agree? Disagree?
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Photo iStockphoto.com

March 18, 2013 at 1:46 am
(1) gemdiamondintherough says:

Trish, you are absolutely right!!!!!!!!
The other thing we need to educate ourselves in is eating for medicine, in such a manner to keep us healthy or to allow our bodies to be in a mode where it can try to heal itself. We also need to look into some alternative medications or micro nutrients, or Dr’s knowledgeable in using specific supplements that are “natural” in origin.
Personally, I think it is a crime, that medications that people do need are marked up to such ridiculous amounts that people cannot buy their meds or perhaps groceries!

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