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Reference Links

Worstpills Independent source for prescription drug information.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance Through this site, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance offers a single point of access to more than 275 public and private patient assistance programs for prescriptions, including more than 150 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies.
Healthcare Coverage Options Database An on-line tool to help make American health care consumers aware of all of the coverage options available to them. The Database contains information about private health insurance coverage, as well as the many public and private programs available to Americans to help them obtain the medical care they need.
StateHealthFacts.org Source of information provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation about state-level health services.
healthinsuranceinfo.net Georgetown University has written a consumer guide about your medical insurance rights for each state and the District of Columbia, each of which is available on this site.
Nieman Watchdog - "Health" Put out by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Its aim is to encourage more and better watchdog reporting, and it is targeted at reporters, editors and concerned citizens.
Hospital Compare This tool provides you with information on how well the hospitals in your area care for all their adult patients with certain medical conditions.
Association of Health Care JournalistsAn independent, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. Its mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing.
patientINFORMA free online service that provides patients and their caregivers access to some of the most up-to-date, reliable and important research available about the diagnosis and treatment of specific diseases.
Health HippoHealth Hippo is a collection of policy and regulatory materials related to health care, with some graphics sprinkled in. It would be wise to confirm anything you intend to rely on with a hardcopy of the reference.
Boston University Health Reform ProgramThe Health Reform Program designs practical solutions to health care problems�solutions that address the needs of all parties.

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Wed Sep 14, 2005

Indian Government to Promote Medical Tourism by Recommending Common Price Bands for Medical Services

The Indian government is planning to recommend common price bands for graded hospitals to provide medical services like cardiovascular operations, minimally invasive surgery, oncology and orthopedics to foreign patients, according to the Financial Expressof India.

These price bands will be applicable on end-to-end costs, including initial diagnostics, tests and costs borne after operations. The Indian ministry of tourism will be marketing these facilities as medical packages in foreign markets to promote medical tourism in India, it added.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Sep 14, 05 | 12:06 am

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Fri Sep 09, 2005

Medical Tourism: Malaysian Travel Packages Introduced

Malaysian tourism is expected to take a boost with the introduction of Malaysia Airlines� first ever medical travel package launched today. Named Golden Holidays - HSC Medical package, these packages are introduced in support of the Government�s effort in promoting Malaysia as a preferred health and medical facilities country destination under the Tourism Ministry.

Through a strategic partnership with HSC Medical Center, a total of five diagnostic packages are offered, each includes a medical check-up, accommodation with daily breakfast, return airfare and airport transfers.

To seal this arrangement, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Dr Y.C. Lim, Executive Director of HSC Medical Center and YM Raja Nordiana Zainal Shah, Assistant General Manager Marketing Support Malaysia Airlines, at the national airline�s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr Y.C. Lim, said, �HSC Medical Center is the first fully computerized one-stop medical, heart and diagnostic center in this region. It is also the first and only medical center in the world where full medical report including MSCT coronary angiogram report] balloon angioplasty & stent implantation are completed on the same day, which is a breakthrough in medical history.�

Dr YC Lim is also confident that with the introduction of the Golden Holidays � HSC Medical Package, HSC Medical Center, one of the biggest contributors in medical tourism in Malaysia is set to generate even higher medical tourist arrivals to the country.

On behalf of Malaysia Airlines, YM Raja Nordiana said �Travel trends have evolved considerably where travel is not merely for leisure and sight-seeing. It has grown to include medical tourism, in line with the changing lifestyle of today where health and wellness has become important to people.�
She added,� This strategic partnership enhances our positioning as a destination experience provider not only for the leisure and business market but also gives Golden Holidays a place in the health and medical destination network.�

MAS Golden Holidays � HSC Medical Package can be purchased worldwide by contacting Malaysia Airlines� offices and agents.
About HSC Medical Center
HSC Medical Center is the first fully computerized one-stop medical, heart & diagnostic center in the region. It is also the first to upgrade to the state-of-the-art Siemens 64-slice MSCT for non-invasive diagnosis on heart disease, stroke and cancer in the region. The Center is manned by internationally trained doctors and is equipped with new generation medical technology of diagnostic accuracy for advanced treatment of certain illnesses.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Sep 09, 05 | 11:59 pm

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Thu Sep 01, 2005

Report: Pharmaceutical Companies Outsource R&D; to India, China

The rise of India and China as global economies presents immense opportunities for the international pharmaceutical industry. Besieged by ever-increasing cost pressures, shorter product life cycles and numerous regulatory challenges in the West, the industry is increasingly shifting its research and development (R&D;) base to the two developing nations.

This is done to minimise the expenses, time and risk involved in R&D.; During the 90s, the cost of bringing one new molecule to the market was as high as $800.0 million in developed nations. The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) estimates that on an average out of 10,000 molecules developed in laboratories, only one or two will successfully pass all stages of drug development and be commercialised.

If you are interested in an analysis, which provides manufacturers, end users, and other industry participants with an overview, summary, advantages and disadvantages of pharmaceutical R&D; outsourcing to India and China � please send an e-mail to Surbhi Dedhia and Samantha Unnikrishnan- Corporate Communications at [email protected]/ [email protected] with the following information: Full name, Company Name, Title, Contact Tel Number, Contact Fax Number, E-mail. Upon receipt of the above information, an overview will be e-mailed to you.

Pharmaceutical companies looking for lucrative solutions, thus, prefer low-cost, developing countries to expensive R&D; in the West. Alliances with local companies, contractual outsourcing arrangements and establishing local subsidiaries are good options for enterprises thinking of utilising the strong intellectual potential in India and China.

�Contract research organisations (CROs) are a popular option and carry out, on behalf of multiple clients, medical and scientific studies on a contractual basis,� says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Himanshu Parmar (http://pharmaceuticals.frost.com). �They provide part of or all of the processes of clinical research including clinical trial management, data management, statistical analysis, protocol design and final report development.�

These outsourcing activities in India and China amount to 20.0 to 30.0 per cent of total global clinical trials. The competitive advantage here lies in the access to specialised skills in excellent research institutes in both countries on a 24/7 basis. In addition, better management from the start reduces development risks.

Despite these benefits, there has been a relatively low level of utilisation of the opportunities in both countries due to various concerns with respect to quality and infrastructure. Companies are worried about probable loss of control in processes and proprietary knowledge. Proper management is needed to utilise complicated and long-distance collaborative third-party relationships. Delays can even happen due to regulatory hold-ups.

This has motivated domestic companies and government in individual countries, keen to increase foreign participation and to figure prominently on the global map, to implement necessary changes to improve clinical research facilities.

�Government commitment in India and China to improve access to high-quality healthcare is a bonus for R&D; outsourcing,� opines Parmar. �The regulatory environment in both countries is gradually changing in favour of clinical research.�

Recent amendments to Schedule Y of Drugs and Cosmetics Rules of India, 1945, signify progressive attitude on the part of the Indian Government, clarifying the environment for clinical research in the country. In China, regular monitoring of clinical trials ensures good clinical practice (GCP)-compliant research centres established by the government. These steps will assist the two countries attain international standards in pharmaceutical research.

For those companies wishing to utilise the regulatory changes and high-quality research, considering alliance strategy and identifying the region of opportunities should be priorities. Embracing the changes through innovative strategies and flexibility alone will allow international pharmaceutical enterprises to capitalise on these new attractive propositions. Looking ahead to the increasing trend towards partnerships and alliances in the pharmaceutical industry, Frost & Sullivan is organizing a premium event, �Global PharmAlliance 2005 � Becoming the partner of choice� being held at Mumbai (India) on September 30th and 1st October, 2005.For more information visit: www.frost.com/pharmalliance

Frost & Sullivan, a global growth consulting company, has been partnering with clients to support the development of innovative strategies for more than 40 years. The company's industry expertise integrates growth consulting, growth partnership services, and corporate management training to identify and develop opportunities. Frost & Sullivan serves an extensive clientele that includes Global 1000 companies, emerging companies, and the investment community by providing comprehensive industry coverage that reflects a unique global perspective and combines ongoing analysis of markets, technologies, econometrics and demographics. For more information, visit http://www.frost.com

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Sep 01, 05 | 12:47 am

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Mon Aug 22, 2005

California Latinos Seek Medical Care South of the Border

California's Latinos increasingly are seeking medical care in Mexico, where medicine is less expensive but the quality is uneven, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Aug 22, 05 | 1:22 am

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Tue Aug 09, 2005

Outsourcing Patholicial Samples: India Moves Up

As another medical cost-cutting measure, low cost Indian firms are now analyzing pathological samples, according to the Times of India.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Aug 09, 05 | 3:24 pm

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Sat Jul 30, 2005

Singapore: Medical Tourism Takes Off

Singapore is becoming a major center for medical tourism. For example, stem cell treatment for advanced cancer tumors costs $72,000 to $90,000 there while it would cost $235,000 in the United States, according to Express Healthcare Management.

Medical tourism also is growing in Malaysia, Thailand and India, it adds.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Jul 30, 05 | 12:18 am

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Thu Jul 28, 2005

$40,000 Procedures Done for $6,400 at Thailands Bumrungrad Hospital

The International Herald Tribune features Thailand's Bumrungrad Hospital, a leading center for medical tourism.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Jul 28, 05 | 12:40 am

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Tue Jul 19, 2005

Move Over Canada: Illinois To Import Drugs from Australia and New Zealand

Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, and U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Chicago) today announced plans to expand the I-SaveRx prescription drug importation network to Australia and New Zealand. The expansion comes on the heels of a comprehensive study conducted by Illinois� Prescription Drug Advocates into the safety and savings of prescription drugs in Australia and New Zealand. The advocates� report, released today, shows that the pharmaceutical systems in the two countries are safe and could provide significant savings averaging around 51 percent compared to prices in the United States, which is even better than the savings available from Canada where the same medications cost 32 percent less than in the U.S.

As recently reported, Canada is considering banning the bulk export of drugs.

"The I-SaveRx program is growing and building as more people find out that they can get the medications they need at prices they can afford from state-inspected pharmacies outside the United States. But as we build momentum, the drug companies and their allies are turning up the heat in Canada, which has been the primary point of purchase for millions of Americans. And unfortunately, as we saw just a few weeks ago, their tactics are having an impact there and the Canadian government is considering new restrictions on prescription drug exports. We�ve known for some time that a sound importation program can�t rely solely on Canada. That�s why we originally included the United Kingdom and Ireland, and why today we�re also announcing plans to include Australia and New Zealand. We�ll keep working to ensure that people who are struggling to afford the medicine their doctors say they need have a safe option through I-SaveRx," said Blagojevich.

Beginning in the fall of 2005, I-SaveRx participants will have even more access to significant savings on some of the most common medications used to treat chronic conditions. A comparison of prices for 78 of the most-used prescription drugs in the I-SaveRx program found that prices in Australia are 51 percent less expensive on average than in the U.S, while the same medications from Canada are 32 percent less than in the U.S.

"This expansion of the highly successful I-SaveRx program will help even more citizens afford their prescription medications," Governor Doyle said. "This program helps give our citizens another safe, affordable option for their prescription medications at a time when the federal government has repeatedly refused to fight the drug companies."

"By expanding the I-SaveRx program to include Australia and New Zealand, we are giving Illinois families additional access to affordable prescription drugs at significantly lower prices," said Congressman Emanuel. "Importation is a safe and effective way to help save consumers and taxpayers from the rising costs of prescription drugs and I commend Governor Blagojevich on his efforts."

Following the same strict standards and procedures used to study Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom in 2003 and 2004, a team of experts from three State of Illinois departments traveled to Australia and New Zealand in February 2005 to meet with government officials, wholesalers, and pharmacists to determine if the I-SaveRx program could be safely expanded to those countries. The experts examined pharmaceutical manufacturing, warehousing, storage, and dispensing practices and compared them with those in the United States. They also closely reviewed the regulation and management of pharmacies and pharmacists, and conducted on-site inspections of several pharmacies in both countries.

The research team concluded that pharmaceuticals purchased from approved facilities in Australia and New Zealand are safe, effective, and more affordable than pharmaceuticals purchased in the United States. Safety standards in these countries met or exceeded those required by the State of Illinois. The Australian authorities and pharmacy regulators had no concerns with Australian pharmacies filling prescriptions under the I-SaveRx program. In New Zealand, however, the law is unclear about a physician�s ability to re-write a prescription for a patient he or she has not examined in-person. As a result, only prescription medications that are available over-the-counter (OTC) in New Zealand will be made available through the I-SaveRx program. Approximately 25 to 30 medications that are available by prescription in the U.S. can be purchased over the counter in New Zealand, including popular medications like Flonase, Clarinex and Atrovent.

Gov. Blagojevich launched I-SaveRx on October 4, 2004, with Gov. Jim Doyle of Wisconsin. Since then, Missouri, Kansas and Vermont have joined the program. The program is available to all residents of participating states, regardless of age or income. More than 10,300 orders have been filled so far with average savings of 25 to 50 percent.

The I-SaveRx program was the first to establish a network of pharmacies that includes facilities across the Atlantic � and now across the Pacific as well. The I-SaveRx program has extensive safeguards built-in and includes thorough oversight of network pharmacies.

The new program connects users to the I-SaveRx administrative clearinghouse through the website or toll-free telephone number. The clearinghouse provides users with information on the list of medications included in the program, prices in each of the countries and enrollment forms and guidance. Consumers can enjoy one-stop shopping rather than contacting numerous pharmacies to gather information and compare prices.

Before ordering, new enrollees must mail or have their doctor fax a completed health profile form and signed prescription to the clearinghouse. Once the clearinghouse has received the prescription and health profile form, it conducts an initial scan for appropriateness using the same drug interaction software used in Illinois pharmacies. If the prescription passes the interaction test, it is then turned over to a network physician in the country from which the medication will be dispensed, who reviews and re-writes the prescription for a local network pharmacy. The pharmacy performs a final safety check to comply with local laws and regulations before dispensing the medication.

The I-SaveRx import program builds-in numerous safety measures to ensure the quality and safety of drugs dispensed. The list of available drugs is limited to those that are used for long periods of time, and that cannot spoil during the shipping process. Consumers can order eligible drugs for re-fill only, so patients and their doctors have had time to review for unanticipated side-effects or interactions. All network pharmacies agree to comply with Illinois pharmaceutical standards, and to only dispense drugs that are intended as domestic product in Canada, Ireland, the U.K., Australia or New Zealand � meaning the pharmacies cannot dispense prescription drugs from other countries that are not part of the program to I-SaveRx consumers.

For more information about I-SaveRx or to get enrollment information, visit www.I-Saverx.net or call toll-free 866-ISAVE-33.

The full Australian-New Zealand report can be viewed at www.I-Saverx.net.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Jul 19, 05 | 1:18 am

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Sat Jul 09, 2005

United Health Care, Indian Hospital Group Propose Joint Venture

United Health Care and Indian-based Apollo Hospitals Group are proposing jointly setting up stand-alone health insurance companies in India, according to the Sify - Taramani,Chennai,India.

United Health, a leading US-based medical insurer, has recently been in the news for its proposed takeover of PacifiCare Health Systems.

Apollo Hospitals is the single largest private hospital group in Asia today.

Apparently, the United Health / Apollo deal directly involves United's providing insurance services to Indians and not Apollo's providing health services to Americans.

However, Apollo is keenly involved in "medical tourism," the transport of Americans and other Westerners to Asia where medical expenses are a fraction of those charged in the United States. According to Apollo CEO, Dr Prathap C. Reddy, Apollo charges $3,000 to $4,000 for heart surgery that would cost at least $60,000 in the United States.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Jul 09, 05 | 3:29 pm

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Tue Jul 05, 2005

Medical Refugee Flees America for Mexico

"We stepped into a new reality where everything; prescription drugs, housing, utilities, food, transportation, entertainment, is 25-75% less than it is in America. My Social Security Disability income more than adequately covers our expenses here in Guanajuato, Mexico. An example is that I can buy all my needed prescriptions for less than the co-pay I forked over for one drug in the United States! I get a month of Prozac for less than $16.00 usd. Same drugs, only affordable! Can you believe that?"

This summarizes Fibromyalgia Syndrome patient Doug Bower's account of how the threat of financial ruin forced him to flee the United States for Mexico.

For a fuller description of how and why Bower and others are fleeing the American healthcare system, read his article.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on Jul 05, 05 | 2:04 pm

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