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How Two Common Medications Became One $455 Million Specialty Pill

An investigative reporter who wondered why he’d been given a drug his doctor didn’t mention during his examine has pulled the curtain on drug companies’ tricks for making old drugs new — and more expensive. As reported by ProPublica, the drug Vimovo is nothing more than a pricey combination of an inexpensive over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever and a stomach pill. A month’s supply of the OTCs is $40; Vimovo costs $3,252. What’s worse is that the prescribing doctor didn’t even know Vimovo’s cost.

I can’t begin to recount how many times I’ve said Big Pharma’s motives have more to do with money than getting you well. And their strategies for getting their costly drugs to you begin with your doctor. Thanks to a different ProPublica investigation, you can now find out if your doctor receives payments from Big Pharma by visiting OpenPaymentsData.CMS.gov.

Whether your doctor is on the list or not, it’s a rare physician who hasn’t been given something by a drug company at some point. Drug representatives’ goals are to get your doctors to prescribe their products, and they are aided by the fact that most doctors have no clue what the drugs cost.

In the meantime, drug prices continue to rise, insurance premiums go up and health care costs spiral out of sight. It may seem futile to try to address these things, but the good news is you can opt out of it by taking control of your own health, now, so you don’t need these drugs. My nutrition plan can give you a head start on this. But if you are prescribed a new drug, ask questions before you fill it. What is in it? Is there a less expensive generic equivalent — or could you simply do without it?
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