Articles on Prescription drugs

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The rising costs of EpiPens has led to outrage. Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Drug prices: Where do we go after the Election?

The rising cost of drugs is more worrisome to most Americans than problems with Obamacare. Could proposals in California and Ohio help?
Kim Kardashian neglected to mention a morning sickness drug’s side effects when she promoted it, which violated US regulations. AAP/Peter Foley

Drug ads only help Big Pharma’s bottom line, so why are they allowed?

Pharmaceutical companies can use prescription medication ads to mislead an unwitting public for the sake of profits. While Australia prohibits such ads, the laws don't go far enough.
Off-label use is when an approved medicine is prescribed for a different reason, at a different dose, or in different patient groups than originally intended. Benny Lin/Flickr

Explainer: why are off-label medicines prescribed?

The off-label use of medicines is not illegal and it doesn't mean regulators have specifically "disapproved" its use. But there are a number of issues to consider before using a medicine off-label.
Insulin, which is used for controlling diabetes and has been in the market for 30 years, was the first biologic. Yusmar Yahaya/Flickr

Explainer: what are biologics and biosimilars?

Biologics are widely accepted as the most effective way of treating certain diseases. They have become the fastest-growing class of therapeutic compounds, with about 300 now available for human use.
Codeine-containing painkillers may soon no longer be available over the counter in Australian pharmacies. Philippa Willitts/Flickr

Why making codeine products prescription-only is a good idea

Australia's drug regulator is looking into reclassifying codeine-based drugs as prescription-only. This is a good idea because the easy availability of these pinkillers is causing substantial harm.
Little pills with big problems. Teens buying pills via Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Easier access to prescription drugs puts teens at risk

When you think about substance use and teens, drugs like marijuana or Ecstasy might come to mind. But recreational prescription drug use is a significant problem. Nationally, 17.8% of high school students…
Generics aren’t always so cheap. Pill bottles via bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock

Why are some generic drugs getting so expensive?

More than eight out of every 10 prescriptions dispensed in the US is generic. This growth is due to a large number of top-selling drugs going off patent over the past decade, as well as innovations in…
In states like Massachusetts, heroin overdoses have skyrocketed in recent years. vidguten/Shutterstock

Can medical marijuana curb the heroin epidemic?

In the 1930s, Harry J. Anslinger, the first head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, embarked on a fierce anti-marijuana campaign. Highlighted by the 1936 anti-marijuana film Reefer Madness – where marijuana…
Food can prevent certain medicines being absorbed into the bloodstream. Bertalan Szürös/Flickr

Explainer: why must some medications be taken with food?

Have you ever been advised to take a medicine with food? How about taking a medicine with cola or avoiding grapefruit? Hundreds of medicines have food-related dosing instructions. With four out of five…
Why are hospitals running out of critical drugs? IV drip via Bhakpong/Shutterstock

Drug shortage crisis puts public health at risk

Hospitals and pharmacies around the country are facing severe shortages of essential drugs. These shortages can limit access to critical medications and compromise patient safety, resulting in serious…

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