A Way to Save Money and Improve Your Health

Health Alert 27

The markups on prescription drugs are appalling. A drug that costs you $5 a tablet may have ingredients worth less than one cent.

The reason – They are outrageously expensive to you because they are sold at an outrageous profit.

You will be shocked to find out how much your prescription drugs actually cost the manufacturer. Many of the drugs sold in the U.S. contain active ingredients that are produced in other countries at exceedingly low cost.

The same prescription drugs are available for much lower prices all over the globe. Most are manufactured in countries with higher laboratory standards than the U.S. But the FDA has made it very difficult for Americans to obtain these drugs.

Remember from Health Alert #10, The Fox Guarding You Hen House that much of the FDA’s budget for policing drug companies comes from the big drug companies themselves.

After you see the profit margin that pharmaceutical companies enjoy, you’ll understand why they are willing to pay for the FDA’s employees and pay for doctors’ perks for prescribing their drugs.

The mark-up for Prozac is 455,400 %. The manufacturer can’t possibly claim that they are still recouping development cost. The drug was already in widespread use when I worked in a psychiatric ward 16 years ago.

The popular anxiety medication Valium has active ingredients costing less than 2 cents for a month’s supply. It has been sold for several decades but still carries a mark-up of over 100,000%.

* Cheaper Alternatives Are Also Safer*

I have recommended that you find alternatives to your prescription drugs because of their danger of serious side effect. I have also said that drugs for chronic problems are not health enhancing and over the long run are a burden to your liver and kidneys. Very high costs at outrageously high profit margins are another reason.

If you are taking prescription drugs, ask your doctor about alternatives. Most of the natural alternatives have very little or no side effects. If your doctor won’t tell you about alternatives, it may be time to consult a new doctor.

If you have an acute problem, you may need the more powerful effect of a prescription drug for a short time. If you have a long-term problem, you can usually find natural alternatives for drugs.

For example, those five very expensive drugs with the outrageous mark-up in the above table? Here are some easy to find, safe and inexpensive alternatives that have worked well in my patients.

• Claritin is an antihistamine used to subdue allergy symptoms. Herbs make great alternatives. My favorite is nettle.

• Norvasc is a blood pressure medication. Here a nutritional approach is the best alternative. I use coenzyme Q10 as first line therapy. 50% of patients coming to see me already on blood pressure medications stop their drugs with nothing more than substituting Co Q10.

• Paxil and Prozac are similar antidepressants. The popular herb St. John’s wort works in a similar manner. But I have an even better solution. The nutrient SAMe has been shown to work as well as antidepressant drugs in 9 European studies.

• Prilosec is used for heartburn. If you have heartburn, you need to find out why. It usually has something to do with your eating habits. If you are drinking caffeine, stopping it may be all you have to do. I like the herb peppermint. You can use capsules but I prefer the tea or fresh leaves. You can place a wad of the leaves between your molars and chew it for a minute before swallowing. The calming effect on your stomach is almost immediate.

Al Sears MD

Source: Faloon, W. The FDA Versus the American Consumer Life Extension October 2002.