GlaxoSmithKline Ends Payments to Doctors

Pharmaceutical companies make lots of money and spend lots of money, including lavish payments to doctors for consulting; expenses-paid conferences, cruises and other events for doctors; and bonuses for sales reps who exceed sales targets, even if that means pitching a drug for uses the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved. Over the past three years, the investigative journalists at the nonprofit ProPublica, along with its news media partners, have been writing about these practices in the series Dollars for Doctors …

Drug Company to Pay $2.2 Billion in Risperdal Settlement

We hear a lot about how older Americans have difficulties with their prescription medications. That makes it all the more disturbing when a pharmaceutical company takes advantage of them by promoting a drug as safe and effective for a certain condition – like, say, dementia - when in fact it may not be. According to the Justice Department, that’s what Johnson & Johnson did in marketing its antipsychotic drug Risperdal to older adults and other vulnerable patients. Now the company will …

Medicare Premiums Stay Level

Medicare premiums will stay at their current levels next year. While the Affordable Care Act has made sweeping changes in the nation’s health care system, the monthly premium for Medicare Part B, which covers doctor visits and most types of outpatient services, will stay at $104.90 in 2014, with the deductible also unchanged, at $147. >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter. Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), called that “good news …

A Grandpa’s Dream, a Child’s Nightmare

There’s a tendency among us grandpas to control, or at least direct, the lives of our grandchildren, theoretically filtering into their futures what we wish we had accomplished on our own. I see it in relation to my granddaughter Nicole, a gifted painter who, at 27, is working hard to win notice in the art world. She is accomplishing that slowly but too slowly to suit me, so I’m pushing her to ramp up the tempo, to haunt the galleries, …

Medicare Drug Premiums Will Rise Just $1 a Month

The average monthly premium for a basic prescription drug plan under Medicare Part D will be just $1 higher next year, the government projects. What’s more, Medicare beneficiaries get some of the credit for keeping the average low by shopping around, the Associated Press reports. For this year, seven of the top 10 Medicare drug plans raised premiums by 10 percent or more. But the average stayed low because many seniors chose plans with lower premiums. “Consumer advocates say beneficiaries should …

Caregivers: Be on the Alert for Medication Side Effects

Her hands shaking uncontrollably, suddenly one day my Mom’s food was falling off the fork before she could get it to her mouth. In a nursing facility for rehabilitation after spinal surgery and a heart attack, Mom had been moved from the independent to the “feeding” dining room (without a word to me). The doctor in the nursing facility dismissed my concern, saying it’s common and it was just “a little bit of Parkinsonism and people get it when they …