Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Statins: Saving Hearts From Harm



The Free FamilyWize Prescription Discount Card makes life-saving medications more affordable – including statins. When it comes to prescription medications, there are few drugs as necessary to people of all ages as statins, a class of lipid-lowering medications, created with the intention of lowering cholesterol and increasing heart health.

Throughout the 20th century, the field of medical science noted an exponential increase in the number of people whose cause of death was from some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD). By the 1960s, drug companies, doctors, and researchers across the globe were looking for a way to determine who was at risk for CVD and how to treat it or prevent it.

Today, the medical world is aware of the link between high cholesterol and heart disease, but this wasn’t always the case. In 1971, Akira Endo, a biochemist from Japan, began searching for a drug that could lower cholesterol. Endo identified mevastatin and performed tests over the next several years, leading to interest from pharmaceutical giant Merck, despite not yet knowing the major benefits of lowering cholesterol.

Mevastatin was never approved for human trials, but the company developed other statins including Zocor and Mevacor. As late as the 1980s, cardiologists remained largely unconvinced that reducing cholesterol could have any significant impact on reducing CVD. It wasn’t until 1994, when Merck sponsored a massive study involving nearly 4,500 patients that the medical world was convinced. The study concluded that those who used statins saw a 35% decrease in cholesterol and were 42% less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack.

Just one year after the study was published, Merck reported $1 billion in sales on their cholesterol-lowering drugs. Akira Endo received the Japan Prize in 2006 for his research and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Now, more than 20 years after the landmark study was published, statins are among the most necessary medications in the world for the part they play in keeping hearts healthy. Research into the efficacy of statins continues today, as researchers test their effect on lung cancer, cataracts, hypertension, and other ailments.


The Free FamilyWize Prescription Discount Card has helped more than ten million people save on their prescriptions, including statins. Are you still paying full price? Get your card (or app) and start saving today. 


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Staying in Shape Once You’re Over 60



At FamilyWize, we make it a point to help people save money on the things that they need to stay healthy. We know, more than most, the value of doctors and medications, but medical professionals everywhere agree that diet and exercise are two of the biggest factors in living a longer, happier life.

With that in mind, we’re sharing five exercises geared for people over 60.

1. Swimming

Among the best cardio that anyone can do, this full-body exercise can help get your heart rate up to an optimal level without aggravating most bone or joint issues. Swimming is a low-impact aerobic exercise that builds lean muscle and is great for maintaining a fast metabolism and functional strength without the need to quell joint pain afterwards.

2. Biking

Biking is another low-impact exercise that builds stamina and allows you to exercise all-year round by switching between a stationary bicycle and the great outdoors.

3. Walking

Although seemingly the least exciting of exercises, going for a 20-30 minute walk a few times a week can have a surprising effect on your health. Getting your heart rate slightly elevated and then keeping it there for a sustained amount of time causes the body to torch fat -- an excellent reason to go smell the roses.

4. Rowing

A full-body exercise that can give you a good sweat in just a few minutes. Rowing uses the whole body, building more functional strength and flexibility. It is important, however, to remember that by sacrificing form or attempting to go too fast, it’s easy to harm the lower back. Take this motion slow and steady.

5. Yoga 

The movements and stances can be difficult at first, but they pay dividends. Yoga has a major focus on balance, one of the biggest concerns for people above age 60. The practice also increases flexibility, which means that you’re less likely to sprain a joint or tear a muscle. Nowadays, yoga classes are available at most gyms at a multitude of different levels, so there’s no reason not to give one a try.

Many of these exercises can be done at the gym. Although some gym memberships can be pricey, you can pick one up with all the money you’ll be saving by using the Free FamilyWize Prescription Discount Card. Get yours here.



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Ask an Expert Pharmacist: What is the difference between Generic and Brand Name drugs?


In our new “Ask an Expert” Blog Series, Ken Majkowski, Pharm.D and Chief Pharmacy Officer at FamilyWize, addresses some of the most common questions consumers have when it comes to prescription drugs and drug costs. Ken brings more than 40 years of healthcare experience to the FamilyWize team, including 14 years of clinical pharmacy experience in retail, hospital, and home care. Read his full bio here.

Patients are often unsure about the differences between generic drugs and brand name drugs.  Let’s address the basics.

First and foremost, it is important to understand that brand name drugs have a generic name as well. When a brand name drug goes off patent, another manufacturer can make a generic equivalent of that drug. There are also therapeutic equivalent drugs, which are made of different chemicals, but work similarly to each other.

For example, Lipitor is a heavily advertised drug used to treat high cholesterol. Lipitor is the drug’s brand name.

Atorvastatin (a TOR vas ta tin) is the generic name. Since Lipitor lost its patent, several other drug companies now make a generic equivalent of Lipitor. That means the FDA requires the generic equivalent to have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and route of administration as the brand name product. They are almost identical (other than possibly some inactive ingredients). Generic Atorvastatin has been proven to be bioequivalent to Lipitor and should work just as well as the brand name product.

Mevacor, on the other hand, does not have a generic equivalent. It is considered to be a therapeutic equivalent of Lipitor. A therapeutic equivalent drug may be in the same class of drugs and may treat the same condition in much the same way, but it is made up of different chemicals.

Why does this distinction matter? When you give your pharmacist a prescription written by your doctor, it is considered both safe and legal for your pharmacist to dispense a generic equivalent drug for the brand name drug named on the prescription (**unless your doctor specifically says not to**). And that is a good thing, because sometimes the cost of a generic equivalent drug is 80 to 85 percent lower than the brand name product. So you will get a product that is proven to work just as effectively as the brand name drug for significantly less money.

However, your pharmacist cannot dispense a therapeutically equivalent drug in place of a brand name drug. Using our example, if you have a prescription for Lipitor, your pharmacist may offer you generic Atorvastatin, but you would need a new prescription from your doctor if you wanted to switch to Mevacor.

As a patient, you can rest assured that generics are safe.  Generic drug recalls are rare, and the FDA closely regulates generic drug producers to protect us from quality issues and adverse effects. For more information, check out the FDA’s website here.

Regardless of whether you take a brand name drug or a generic drug, the FamilyWize Prescription Discount Card can help you to save money on your prescription drug costs.

Do you have another question for our pharmacist? Visit FamilyWize on Facebook and let us know. Find us at https://www.facebook.com/FamilyWize/



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Save Time and Money with the New FamilyWize Medicine Cabinet



We’re excited to announce the launch of our new online tool – the FamilyWize Medicine Cabinet – a simple way to better manage your family’s prescription drug costs.

A Powerful Prescription Drug Price Comparison Tool

With the FamilyWize Medicine Cabinet, you can store all of your family’s prescription information in one secure location, easily comparing costs and finding the right pharmacy to meet your needs. 

Use the Medicine Cabinet to:
  • Create a personal profile to save and track your family’s prescription drug price searches.
  • Search and compare prescription drug prices within a designated zip code.
  • Bundle prescriptions by pharmacy to see total cumulative costs prior to visiting the pharmacy – no surprises!
  • Compare pricing between generic and name brand prescriptions.
  • Toggle search results between pharmacy locations and drug cost breakdowns to make informed decisions for your family.
  • Instantly download the FamilyWize card or app.

By saving your family’s prescription drug information in one place, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about the best way to fill your family’s prescriptions – without having to call or visit multiple pharmacies or conduct multiple online searches. The end result? You save valuable time and money.

Save Time and Money By Managing Your Prescription Research In One Place

Imagine “Sarah”, a working mother who juggles the healthcare purchases for herself, her husband, and their daughter, who was born with a heart condition. After her daughter’s most recent check-up, Sarah logs into the FamilyWize Medicine Cabinet. 


She updates the dosage information on her daughter’s existing medication. Then she searches to check the price on a new drug prescribed by her daughter’s cardiologist. She discovers that it is fairly pricey at their current pharmacy, but she can save some money by going to a different pharmacy a few miles farther from home. 


She saves that drug into the Medicine Cabinet and decides to see how much money she can save overall by switching to the new pharmacy. 

With just a few clicks, Sarah can see if the cumulative cost of the prescriptions will be lower at the new pharmacy verses their existing pharmacy – without ever leaving her desk or picking up the phone.

Sarah can also update her family’s saved information as often as needed, such as when she switches jobs and wants to check the prices at pharmacies closer to her new office. And, of course, she can quickly and easily download the FamilyWize app or print a FamilyWize card to make sure she is saving as much money as possible on her family’s prescription drug costs.

We Created Medicine Cabinet Because We Care

Over the past 12 years,
FamilyWize has worked hard to help families better manage their prescription drug costs.  Have questions about how to use the Medicine Cabinet? Visit our “How It Works” page for everything you need to get started. If you still have questions or any general feedback you’d like to share, please email us at support@familywize.org. We love to hear from you!



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Five Ways to Save More Money in 2017



Each January, most of us spend a little time thinking about New Year’s resolutions. According to the experts at Statistic Brain, “make better financial decisions” is the third most popular resolution – right after “lose weight” and other self-improvements (click to read the full list)

Don’t have the time to revamp your entire budget? Here are five low-effort, but high-impact ways to save more money in 2017:

1. Automate, Automate, Automate!
Today, managing your personal finances can be as easy as using a crock-pot – “set it and forget it!” Want to contribute $X to your children’s college funds each month? Set up automatic deposits now and you won’t have to think about it for the rest of the year. Have a credit card? Set up automatic payments so that you are sure to pay it off in full each month. Use automation to your advantage. No willpower required!

2. Pay Yourself First
Lifestyle inflation is when you get a new job with a higher salary, so you buy a bigger house. Then with your higher bonus, you buy a nicer car. Fun? Yes. But unfortunately, you have just used your higher income on two items that require higher monthly payments … so at best, your savings account remains the same, and at worst, you end up saving less each month than before. Instead, use that money to “pay yourself first.” Pay off debts and set up new automatic savings contributions before using what is leftover to make new purchases. By taking that simple step, you will take full advantage of the additional money coming your way.

3. Use a Flexible Spending Account
Many people have the opportunity to set up a Flexible Spending Account, or FSA, through their place of employment. FSAs help us to save money on taxes by using pre-tax dollars for medial expenses, but did you know that they can also help to increase the amount of money you take home each year?  Read the full explanation here and then talk to your HR department about how to set up your account.

4. Identify the Best Time to Buy
Planning to make a few big purchases this year? Knowing when to buy can have a significant impact on your wallet. The experts at Lifehacker put together a comprehensive, up-to-date guide on the best times to buy everything this year. For example, September is the best month to book your holiday travel, but you may get a better deal on a new refrigerator in May. Check out their full analysis here and plan your purchases accordingly!

5. Discounts. Discounts, Discounts!
Sign Up for the Free FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card
Like the four tips already listed, taking this one action can save you money all year long. Go to this page and follow the instructions to get your own FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card. Then show the card every time you fill a prescription. That’s it. Users typically see an average discount of 43% on their prescription drug costs.

With each of these tips, one small change now can have a measurable impact on your savings by the end of the year. How are you planning to save money in 2017?  Share your tips with us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FamilyWize/

Sources:


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About FamilyWize



Many people are unfamiliar with prescription savings cards – or assume that they don’t really work as advertised. We understand the skepticism, so we’re here to answer some of the most common questions we get about FamilyWize and our free prescription savings card and app.  

What is FamilyWize?


FamilyWize Community Service Partnership is dedicated to helping improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities.
We work with United Way Worldwide, the American Heart Association, the National Council on Aging, and more than 100,000 other community organizations, government agencies, pharmacies, health systems, and businesses to educate people about health and wellness-related topics and to share our free prescription savings card, which helps to make prescription medication more affordable and accessible for all.

What is the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card?


The Free FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card helps to reduce the cost of prescription medication. The card has unlimited use, so you can apply it to every prescription you fill. Better yet, the card works for both the insured and the uninsured – anyone can use it!

How do I qualify for the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card?


The card has no eligibility requirements. It has no registration, activation, or restrictions due to preexisting conditions. Just print it and show it at your nearest participating pharmacy.

How good are the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card discounts?


By using the FamilyWize card, you can expect to save an average of 43 percent on prescriptions. Since 2005, FamilyWize has helped over 10 million people save more than $1 billion on their prescription medications!

How do I get the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card?


The free card is available here. It can only be used in the United States.

What if I don’t want to carry a physical card in my wallet?


We also have a mobile app! You can download the FamilyWize app to your smartphone from Google Play or the Apple App Store. The app serves as a digital version of the card.

How do I use the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card?


It couldn’t be easier. Just print the card (or use the mobile app on your phone), bring it to your pharmacist, show it, along with your prescription, and then ask your pharmacist for the best price.

Where is the FamilyWize card accepted?


The FamilyWize card is accepted at 60,000+ pharmacies nationwide, including Walgreens, Walmart, Kmart, Target, CVS, and Rite Aid. You can find a list of participating pharmacies here.

How do I know if my pharmacy accepts the FamilyWize card?


To find a participating pharmacy near you, and the price you’ll pay at when you use the FamilyWize card, use our Drug Price Lookup Tool. Just enter the name of your medication and the zip code where you want to shop, and you’ll be able to easily find the pharmacy where you’ll pay the best price.

How does FamilyWize get these discounts?


FamilyWize acts like a big buying group, negotiating with pharmacies to get discounts similar to what they give large groups like insurance companies and employers. What makes us unique is that we pass along 100% of our negotiated savings on to you, the consumer.

What if I still have questions?


You can likely find what you need at our FamilyWize website. If you still have questions, contact us online here, or call us toll-free at 866-810-3784.

That’s it! As you can see, using the card is easy and the discounts you can get with the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card are substantial – and real! Get your card today and start saving!