People's Pharmacy

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

October 14, 2005|By JOE AND TERESA GRAEDON

I take 15 milligrams of Remeron daily for depression. Recently I called in a refill. When I opened the bottle, I noticed the pills were much larger and a different color. To check on this, I took the new pills to my pharmacy along with a sample of the original prescription.

Someone had inadvertently given me 45-mg pills rather than 15-mg. The pharmacist made the change quickly and apologized. I'm glad I checked. I urge readers who notice any change in their medications to talk with the pharmacist.

Thank you for reminding us that it is crucial to double-check medications before leaving the pharmacy. By accidentally tripling the dose, the pharmacist put you at risk of reactions to Remeron.

My husband and I take a lot of medicine but have no drug coverage. He is a diabetic on five different medications. Two weeks ago, he was hospitalized with an irregular heart rhythm. The bill came to $20,000, and our insurance would not cover it.

We live frugally, but paying for the medicines and the hospitalizations is just too much. Is there any way to get help with these bills from the drug companies?

Most pharmaceutical companies offer patient-assistance programs for those with low incomes. Go to the Web site helpingpatients.org or call 888- 477-2669. Your doctor will have to help with your application.

In the meantime, ask your doctor whether buying prescriptions from a reputable online Canadian pharmacy makes sense. A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine (Sept. 20) reported that the average savings per prescription is about 24 percent over online drugstores in the U.S.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them via their Web site: peoplespharmacy.org.

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