The GoodRx Prescription Savings Blog

The latest updates on prescription drugs and ways to save from the GoodRx medical team

Humalog Junior Insulin Pen Now In Pharmacies

by The GoodRx Pharmacist on October 19, 2017 at 3:16 pm

Short-acting insulin is the dose you give yourself to compensate for the amount of food or carbohydrates you eat. Some short-acting insulins include Humalog, Novolog, and Afrezza.

Most of these insulins have been designed for use in adults. However, a new short-acting insulin has been approved for use in children—Humalog Junior KwikPen.

What is Humalog prescribed for?

Humalog is indicated for the treatment of diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2. Humalog Junior KwikPen is specifically indicated for use in children, who require smaller doses of insulin compared to adults.

What’s unique about the Humalog Junior KwikPen?

The Humalog Junior Kiwkpen can dose in half unit increments. This precise dosing is a benefit for children with diabetes who require smaller doses of insulin.

The Junior Kwikpen is also prefilled, and disposable so you can toss it when you’re done.

Can I share my KwikPen?

No. All Humalog products should not be shared even if a new needle is used.

What’s the difference between the Humalog KwikPen and the Humalog Junior KwikPen?

The main difference is the number of units a patient can receive. The Humalog KwikPen can give up to 60 units per injection whereas the Humalog Junior KwikPen can only give up to 30 units per injection.
Both the Humalog and Humalog Junior KwikPens are the same strength which is 100 units per mL. Each Humalog Junior KwikPen contains 300 units of insulin.

Do any other short-acting insulins have a ‘Junior’ product?

Sort of. Novolog has the NovoPen Echo, a device that allows for half-unit dosings. Novolog used to make a NovoPen Junior, however, it was discontinued in March of 2013 and replaced by the NovoPen Echo.

Hurricane Damage May Cause Drug Shortages

by The GoodRx Pharmacist on October 16, 2017 at 2:39 pm

The United States, Puerto Rico, and many islands in the Carribean have recently faced an immense amount of destruction thanks to mother nature. Several hurricanes and tropical storms have devastated many areas, causing destruction to communities, widespread power-outages, and quite possibly, drug shortages.

How could this cause a shortage?

Around 10% of drugs prescribed in the United States are manufactured in Puerto Rico. Pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and Baxter are just a few of the many manufacturers that have facilities located in Puerto Rico.

In response to these natural disasters, the FDA Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, M.D., issued a statement regarding the potential for drug shortages. According to the FDA Commissioner, the pharmaceutical industry is responsible for nearly 90,000 jobs and for 72.4% of Puerto Rico’s 2016 exports totaling $14.5 billion.  

You can read more of this statement here.

What drugs have been affected?

The types of medications and medical products produced in Puerto Rico include HIV and cancer drugs, immunosuppressants used by organ transplant patients, diabetes devices, and even hospital IV bags.

What is being done to address the shortages?

In order to address current and future problems, the FDA has been working with pharmaceutical companies to create a task force to prioritize efforts and address the potential for medical product shortages.

According to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) the FDA is tracking 40 critical medications — 12 that are not produced outside of Puerto Rico — that are at risk of being in short supply because of hurricane-related manufacturing delays.  

While there are no shortages yet, a small number may appear in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned, we will keep you updated!

What Do Drug Pricing Transparency Laws Mean for You?

by The GoodRx Pharmacist on October 12, 2017 at 5:22 pm

Drugs are expensive, and prices seem to only be increasing. You’ve probably heard of the conflict surrounding popular drugs like Epipen and Daraprim, who each saw large price hikes overnight.

These price increases, among others, have shed necessary light on price hiking and transparency, and have caused many states to take this matter into their own hands. At the moment, 23 states are stepping up their efforts on drug pricing by proposing bills that take on the rising cost of drug pricing.

What is drug pricing transparency?

First off, it’s great for your pocketbook. Drug pricing transparency would require pharmaceutical companies and middlemen (like pharmacy benefit managers) to be less secretive about the actual costs of their medications.

Who would benefit?

Essentially everyone, minus those with a hidden agenda. Providing drug pricing will ensure affordable and accessible prescription drugs for consumers.

What’s going on in California?

Exciting things! Governor Jerry Brown just signed the SB-17 drug transparency bill. This bill requires that pharmaceutical companies give the state of California 60 days notice anytime they plan to raise the price of a drug by 16% or more over 2 years. The companies would also have to explain why the increases are necessary. In addition, health insurers would have to report what percentage of premium increases are caused by drug spending.

California also has another bill, AB-265, which would prohibit drug companies from offering coupons and other discounts to brand-name drugs that have an alternative cheaper generic available. This bill has yet to get to the governor but has passed in the Senate.

And Vermont?

Vermont passed a bill in 2016 that requires pharmaceutical companies to provide justification for drug price hikes.

Each year the Green Mountain Care Board in collaboration with the Department of Vermont Health Access identifies drugs that have experienced price hikes by 50% or more over the past five years, or by 15% more over the past 12 months. For drugs that have experienced increases, the state can fine the pharmaceutical companies.

What about Nevada?

In June, Nevada passed a bill that focuses solely on the cost of diabetes medications. However, it is currently facing lawsuits from pharmaceutical lobbying groups, as they claim that it is unconstitutional and possibly violates patient rights. More to come on this!

What’s going on with the bill in Ohio?

The Ohio Drug Price Act is an initiative that aims to cut pricing. Or does it?

This act would mandate that the state agencies pay no more for prescription drugs than the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, which typically gets a 24% discount on the price of drugs from pharmaceutical companies.

However, this bill does not apply to those with private health insurance; therefore, if passed Ohioans insured through their employers could actually see drug prices go up in order for the drug companies to regain the money lost from selling to certain buyers at a lower rate.  A similar bill in California flopped just last year!

It seems like more bills are being proposed every day. Stay tuned, we will keep you in the loop.

Administering Medications in School: 6 Tips For Parents

by The GoodRx Pharmacist on October 3, 2017 at 11:10 am

If your child needs to use medication during the school year, making the proper accommodation with required school personnel is an important task for parents to complete at the beginning of the school year.

Here are some tips to help ensure that your child stays healthy during this school year.

Be up to date on the school’s policies and procedures

Every school will have different policies and procedures for students taking medication during school hours. Even if your child is staying in the school district, policies can change. Be sure to read up on the year’s policies to ensure there are no medication mix-ups.

Schedule medication dosing outside of school hours

If your child needs to take a medication three times daily, try giving it when you’re home rather than at school. Your child’s medication, if taken 3 times daily, can be given before school, after school, and at bedtime under your supervision.  Giving medicine during school hours should be done only if it’s completely necessary as the potential for various issues or problems can arise.  

Have your pharmacy give you an extra labeled bottle

If your child needs medication given during school hours, make sure you’re prepared. Ask your pharmacy to give you an extra labeled bottle with your child’s prescription information so you can provide it to the proper school personnel.

Have the doctor write an extra prescription

Some insurance companies will allow your doctor to write a prescription stating “for home” and “for school” for certain medications such as rescue inhalers, epinephrine for life-threatening allergic reactions or emergency seizure or diabetes medications. The following are examples of these medications:

Make sure your child has supplies on hand for low blood sugar

If your child is diabetic, make sure the school has supplies on hand to deal with low blood sugar. A quick sugar source such as a juice box, regular soda pop, or glucose tablets are easy for the school to store and can bring your child’s blood sugar up.

Store emergency information in their cell phone

Whether your child has an Android or Apple phone you can help them set-up important emergency information. 

Android devices have an emergency info screen that will let you add details including name, address, date of birth, blood type, known allergies, medications, medical conditions, and more. You can also specify an emergency contact. 

Apple phones also have a similar functionality with Medical ID built into the Health application for iPhones. It can also be accessed through the lock screen.

4 Tips to Prevent and Treat Head Lice

by The GoodRx Pharmacist on September 21, 2017 at 2:59 pm

It’s the beginning of the school year, which means that it is time to prepare for the little bugs that get passed around the classroom, lice!

Head lice are parasitic insects that can be found on the head, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Preschool and elementary school-aged children, as well as their parents and caregivers, are at the greatest risk for lice infestation. The most common way to spread lice is through head-to-head contact, which can easily happen when children are playing.

Here are some tips from the pharmacist to help prevent and treat head lice.

Try over the counter options first

There are over the counter (OTC) options that can be used if your child has lice. OTC items like Nix are available at your local grocery store. Using an OTC option first can save you money, as many of the prescription-only items can be costly, and may not be covered by your insurance.

Prescription treatment is available

If you’re unable to get rid of lice using OTC products, your doctor can write you a prescription for lice treatment. The following are examples of prescription-only lice treatment.

  • Sklice is for children 6 months of age and older. It is a 10-minute treatment that doesn’t require any nit combing. The manufacturer offers a savings program that can reduce your co-pay to at least $30. For more information, visit their website here.
  • Ovide is a lotion used on children 6 years of age and older. Keep in mind that it is flammable, and a second treatment may be required after seven days if lice are still present.
  • Ulesfia is for children 6 months of age and older. Be sure to repeat the treatment after seven days. The manufacturer offers a savings program that can reduce your co-pay to as little as $10. For more information, visit their website here.
  • Natroba is a topical solution indicated for children 6 months of age and older. Nit combing is not required, but using a fine-tooth comb may be helpful to remove dead lice and nits.

Don’t share personal items

Teaching your child to share is an important life lesson; however, some personal items should not be shared in order to protect against spreading lice. Make sure your child knows that personal items like brushes, hats, helmets, headbands, and towels should not be shared.

Check with your state department of health

Each state department will have information on symptoms, treatments, and guidance for lice prevention and treatment. Refer to your state’s department of health website for more information.

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