Medical notes

From raju




Medline is the standard search tool for finding medical academic papers.

How I came across it:
It was Mentioned in pg-89 of "Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks" by Ben Goldacre.

Further reading:


buying prescription drugs

Specialty pharmacy

A specialty pharmacy is a pharmacy (usually but not necessarily) tied to a manufacturer which specialised in distributing classes of branded drugs. They are usually mail-order operations and operate over State lines. To operate they usually require a license in every State which they service.

By law, a specialty pharmacy must not waive copays for Medicare, Medicaid or other government pharmaceutical insurance schemes.



Articles advocating competition to reduce drug prices


Daraprim is an antibiotic used to treat AIDS and malaria.

cancer related drugs

  • Revlimid by Celgene Corp. - costs $695.48 a capsule
  • Pomalyst by Celgene Corp.


useful links

informative links

news related

Corona virus

Price gouging by Pharma companies

Third party charities

Here is another way how pharma companies manage to keep the drug prices high. They get money through two channels - (1) patient copay ~ 20% (2) reimbursement from insurance company ~ 80%. The drug prices are jacked up so much that the reimbursements from insurance companies is good enough. But patients may not buy the drug due to copay. So companies "donate" money to a third-party charity which in turn provides "copay assistance" to the patients making the drug very cheap to the patients. Now patients buy the drugs -> sales go up -> profit for pharma companies.


asof: 2015-10-30

Onexton is an acne cream manufactured by Valeant. It is a mix of two well known treatments for acne - clindamycin phosphate and benzoyl peroxide. Both these products are available as generics at low cost ($10-$15 each). However the combination has a price of $478 per tube. If you went to your local pharmacy they would (if they were competent and unbiased) suggest you buy the two generics. You can buy the generics and mix them yourself. However if you go to the captive specialty pharmacy you will be sold the expensive drug (and the cost will largely be borne by your insurance company).




asof: 2015-11-15

Valeant charges over $300,000 a year to cure Wilson's disease. If a person does not get their Wilson disease medication, Syprine, acquired by Valeant, they die a slow and painful death. This drug has been available for 50 years and costs just $100 in Europe, but costs $300,000 per year in the US.




asof date: 2015-10-30

Solodyn is a prescription strength acne cream. It is a branded generic of Minocycline. Minocycline is made in 50 and 100 mg strengths by several manufacturers and sold to the pharmacies for less than 50 cents per capsule. Solodyn on the other hand is made in strengths of 55 mg and 115 mg, sells for $33.15 per capsule. So if a doctor prescribes Solodyne, the generic form can not be dispensed because of the difference in strengths.