Sudden Price Hikes on the Generic Drug Market

Generic Drug MarketMedication can be quite expensive, which is why many people opt to buy generic drugs instead of name-brand drugs. Generic drugs often do the exact same thing as name brand drugs but are much more affordable. Unfortunately, a new study by the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics revealed that generic drugs are going up in cost.

The Rise in Cost of Generic Drugs

Even generic heart medications and antibiotics are increasing in price, according to the USC study. More generic drugs are beginning to double in price year-over-year. In 2007, only one percent of generic drugs doubled in price from the previous year. In 2013, 4.39 percent of generic drugs doubled in price.

One of the reasons there has been such a sharp spike is due to a new strategy employed by manufacturers to enter therapeutic areas that have little competition. They then raise their prices significantly.

This has led to outrage amongst the public, especially about medicines that patients need to stay alive. It has led to many questions from critics concerning whether the generic drugs’ market is still effective. Generic drugs not only take up 90 percent of the prescriptions that are filled throughout the country, but they’ve historically been available at lower costs that even decreased over time.

The study revealed that even though the prices for most generic drugs actually declined from 2007 to 2013, the number of generic drugs that doubled in price during that time period grew 400%. It was found that the cause behind these increases mostly had to do more with a lack of competition than a shortage in supply.

Patients’ out-of-pocket costs have not increased as a direct result of increased generic drug costs. However, that could change if insurers respond to continually increasing prices by raising premiums.

To stay up-to-date with all of the latest health news, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.

Death Tolls Spur Push for Flu Vaccine

Flu VaccineLast year was one of the worst flu seasons in decades. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, some 80,000 people died during the 2017-2018 flu season. As a result, there’s been a significant effort to increase awareness and to get people to go get their flu vaccine as this year’s flu season begins.

The Impact of 2017-2018 Flu Season

Among those that died as a result of the flu last year, 180 of them were children, most of whom were not vaccinated. In fact, it’s estimated that more than 40 percent of American children did not get vaccinated for the flu last year. The number of children between the ages of six months and four years that weren’t vaccinated increased as well.

Besides the surprisingly high death toll, the flu caused serious enough problems that 900,000 people were hospitalized as a result. Although the flu season lasted from October to May, it was in November that the virus began to really have a huge effect. In fact, last year’s flu season was the first to be considered “high severity” for people of all ages.

The Importance of a Flu Vaccination

Getting a flu vaccination every year is the responsible thing to do. Not only will you protect yourself from getting the flu, but you’ll help prevent the virus from being spread to others. Some inoculated people may get the flu but it may not have a big impact on their health. Their bodies may be able to fight it off within a week or so. However, if they aren’t vaccinated, they could spread it to others and cause them more serious health problems.

It’s particularly important for the elderly, children, pregnant women, and adults who have chronic health problems to get their flu shots. Because different strains of the flu spread every year, it’s also important that you get your flu shot before every flu season. Flu vaccinations are not lifetime vaccinations.

For more information about the upcoming flu season or to stay on top of all health-related news, visit us at the Benefits Store today.

Blame It on Your Nose

cold symptomsAs common as the cold is (After all, it’s referred to as the “common cold.”), it’s surprising how little we know about it. Maybe that’s why there’s no cure. However, researchers have recently revealed that the severity of the symptoms a person might experience due to a cold could be linked to the type of bacteria in their nose.

How Bacteria in the Nose Affects Cold Symptoms

Researchers studied 152 participants by analyzing their nasal bacteria. The participants were studied before and after being infected with the same cold virus. It was determined that participants who had the most Staphylococcus bacteria in their noses suffered the most severe cold symptoms. The mix of bacteria in their noses was also linked to how much of the virus was in their body. This means that the background bacterial pattern in the participants’ noses influenced how they reacted to the virus and how sick they got.

While these findings are certainly interesting, they don’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between the type of bacteria in a person’s nose and the severity of symptoms. This is because there are also environmental characteristics that can influence the severity of cold symptoms. For example, you could be exposed to pollution or have certain allergies that could differentiate your symptoms.

Can Probiotics Lessen Cold Symptoms?

During the study, participants were given probiotics to determine whether beneficial bacteria could help reduce their cold symptoms or affect the composition of the bacteria in their noses. According to the results, the probiotics had no effect on either the symptoms or the bacteria, nor did it affect the microbiomes in the stomach.

Even though the probiotics didn’t work, understanding the potential link between nasal bacteria and cold symptoms could lead to improved cold relief medications. The researchers are currently considering using probiotics in a nasal spray, a more direct approach that could have a positive effect.

Stay up-to-date on all of the latest health-related news, especially during the flu season. Visit us at The Benefits Store today.

Keeping Your Dog Safe From the Flu

dog fluThis year’s flu season has been bad, which means that everyone who hasn’t had a flu shot yet should get one. However, it’s not just people who need to worry about the flu. Dogs can get the flu too, and according to Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, there has been an increase in the canine flu virus H3N2.

Be Wary of the Dog Flu

People with dogs should be careful about where they take them during flu season. Because the dog flu can easily spread from one dog to another through barks, coughs and sneezes, taking a pet to areas like dog parks, doggie daycares and kennels can increase the risk of exposure to the dog flu.

Dog flu is a serious respiratory illness, but there are medications that can be prescribed to help your dog recover. Rest and good nutrition will be beneficial as well. However, dog flu can sometimes be difficult to identify because the symptoms are so similar to kennel cough.

Some of the common signs of dog flu include a fever, green discharge from the eyes and nose, a cough that doesn’t go away, lethargy and a decrease in appetite. When dogs get the flu, they should be kept away from other dogs as well as animals in general, since the H3N2 virus can spread among all kinds of animals.

While some dog owners won’t want to keep their pets away from the dog park just because it’s flu season, they should be sure to keep their dogs at home if they exhibit any symptoms. Otherwise, there’s a risk that if your dog does have the dog flu, it will spread it to other dogs. Additionally, dogs should also be protected from humans who have the flu, since dogs can contract human strains of the flu.

Everyone should make an effort to take care of themselves during the flu season, but they shouldn’t forget about their dogs. For all the latest health news, visit us at The Benefits Store today.

Sports Safety: Protecting Your Eyes

Sports SafetyMost people are very conscious about sports safety in this day and age, especially once the danger of concussions became more well known. People will generally make sure to wear helmets and padding when playing contact sports to help prevent injuries. Unfortunately, while everyone is rightfully worried about keeping their heads and limbs from being injured, people don’t seem to worry about eye safety. Protecting your eyes is extremely important because eye injuries can be quite severe.

The Importance of Eye Sports Safety

While you’ll want to do everything you can to prevent injuries such as broken bones, those will often heal with time. An eye injury can potentially be permanent and can result in a permanent disability that can greatly compromise your quality of life. It’s why you should take extra precautions to protect against fractured eye sockets, scratched corneas, and vision loss while playing sports. All it takes is a wayward baseball or tennis ball, or even a flailing elbow or finger, to cause a serious eye injury.

Types of Sports Safety Equipment for the Eyes

There are different types of sports safety equipment to protect the eyes depending on the sport. The following are a few examples of the types of gear you should wear for each sport to help protect your eyes:

  • Football – For football, you should wear a full face guard along with an eye guard. Football is a full-contact sport, which means that you could easily injure your eyes during a tackle.
  • Hockey – Not only is hockey a full-contact sport, a fast-moving puck can easily fracture an eye socket, which is why you should wear a wire or polycarbonate mask.
  • Tennis – For tennis, goggles will help protect against wayward tennis balls.
  • Basketball – It’s not uncommon to get hit with a flailing hand or elbow while playing basketball, so wear goggles.
  • Baseball – When batting, you should wear a face guard along with goggles or eye guards to protect against wayward pitches.

Use sports safety equipment to protect your eyes. For more physical safety tips, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.