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    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov

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    Friday, January 05, 2007

    Poxes: The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending a second chickenpox vaccine just prior to entering kindergarten. This has been something that's been brewing for some time, since it's becoming obvious that kids who had the first vaccine sometimes end up with chickenpox when they're older. We don't see chickenpox with anywhere near the frequency we did before the vaccine, but it's probably prudent to get the booster dose to avoid the infection in young adulthood or late teenage years when it's much worse than having it as a child.

    However, I question this statement from the article:

    Help paying for vaccines should be available to most people covered by private insurance or Medicaid.

    Most health insurance plans that cover immunizations will pay for vaccinations that are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Bocchini said. Government insurance programs also cover the shots.

    It's true they pay for one dose of chickenpox vaccine as that's been approved for several years, but don't assume they'll pay for a second dose. Although the booster is listed on the 2007 CDC immunization schedule, which is the guideline most third party payers follow, it usually takes the insurance comapnies about a year to catch up. A good example is the human papilloma virus vaccine. It's on the recommendations, and it's gotten a lot of publicity. Even though I've had patients ask for it, once I tell them the price ($180$140/dose) they decide to check with their insurance company first. I've yet to have anyone call back to say they'll take it.

    UPDATE: I corrected the price of the HPV vaccine. It's $140 per dose in the US. It's the shingles vaccine (Zostavax) that's $180 per dose. Haven't had any takers on that one, either, once they've been given the price.

    posted by Sydney on 1/05/2007 08:14:00 AM 4 comments


    $180!!!! In Oz, to buy privately is about US$40-50 a jab. Somebody is making a bit of money over there?


    By Blogger Benedict 16th, at 6:59 PM  

    Some medical company is always making a bit of money over here. You could say we subsidize your $40-$50 vaccine, your devices and all of your drugs.

    Companies charge what the market will bear- that's basic capitalism.

    By Anonymous Danie, at 9:15 AM  

    So what you are saying that because of Capitalism, you pay more for your drugs, there must be some very happy rich people around you!

    A colleague went to India recently and bought some Azithromicin for me About US$1.10 for 30x 500mg, in Oz that would be about US$270 cost here.

    So tell me again how big pharma making big profits helps us all? (no don't that was sarcasm!)


    Declared interestged - absolutely no shares, especially not in pharma*

    By Blogger Benedict 16th, at 9:12 AM  

    I am not supporting the pharmaceutical industry's practices, just stating the facts.

    It is a fact that if we want new and better meds, someone has to pay, and right now that is the American citizen (something which may change with the new Congress allowing imports from Canada, which is not good for the Canadians). Pharmaceutical companies must make a profit, or none of us gets new drugs. Including you and the folks in India.

    However, it is what companies do with their profits that's the problem. The best solution would be to ban direct-to-consumer advertising, which every country has done except the USA and New Zealand. Since about half of pharmaceutical company revenues go to marketing, this could have an enormous impact on cost. It also decreases the amount of drugs used, which hasn't been shown to be of any great detriment to the populations whose countries have such laws.

    By Anonymous Danie, at 11:04 AM  

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