Thursday, April 9, 2015

Go to medical school, you may owe student loans the rest of your life!

My story is typical for some:
I applied and was accepted to Medical School in Luton England, When I arrived I was told I could study a semester of premed and then be admitted since I did not have an MCAT. I borrowed 70K from Key Bank that year. I then found out the school was not totally legit and had some major issues. (I did some research and found out that degrees are not honored for licensure all US states), I transferred to St James School of Medicine who had Sallie Mae student loans and continued to borrow another 110k. Both Schools had US Medical School Loan programs, but with the real estate collapse beginning in 2007, the year I graduated Basic science, these lenders decided to stop lending to offshore medical schools except LCME schools (ROSS, AUC and St Georges). So I was in Third year faced with step one to take and no money to complete. To make it worse Key Bank began harassing me to begin repayment, I spent the next year struggling to study for step one ( lead to a few failures) scraping and begging for money to live and pay school and fees, and telling Key Bank I was in Medical school but Key Bank said in school deferment was only for US schools now. Really this is 100% true. No one I contacted would help.

 I was in Medical school but Key Bank said in school deferment was only for US schools now. 

I have come to find out there are little rules for student loans.
They are immortal
You owe them after bankruptcy
No one regulates them
If you have a cosigner they owe them even if you die

The Current Congress and President have not been willing to really do something about the Student Loan Slavery we are in.

I'm currently in repayment and soon it will be over 65% of my income to pay them
What kind of help can I get?

My Loans are Private US loans for Medical School no part of it Federal Student loans but private are protected just like federal. 

So far none! 

Before going to a non LCME school think hard on this or you will be next to owe over 190k without a residency and no help with the student loans. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

FDA regulation on TV Drug Ads? Surprise!

Does the FDA (Federal Drug Agency) Regulate prescription drugs? YES!

Does the FDA regulate information on packaging? YES!

Does the FDA regulate prescription drug ads on TV? NO!


Does the FDA control advertisements for all drugs?
  • No. The FDA does not oversee the advertising of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is responsible for regulating OTC drug ads. The FDA regulates advertising only for prescription drugs. We also oversee the advertising for certain kinds of medical devices, such as hearing aids, the lasers used in LASIK procedures, and contact lenses.

Does the FDA review and approve all advertisements for drugs before their release?
  • No. In most cases, federal law does not allow the FDA to require that drug companies submit ads for approval before the ads are used. We see many ads at about the same time the public sees them. Many drug companies voluntarily seek advice from us before they release TV ads. However, if we believe that an ad violates the law, we send a letter to the drug company asking that the ads be stopped right away.

Does Federal law ban ads for drugs that have serious risks?
  • No. Federal law does not bar drug companies from advertising any kind of prescription drugs, even ones that can cause severe injury, addiction, or withdrawal effects. However, companies cannot use reminder adsfor drugs with certain serious risks (drugs with "boxed warnings").

What must product claim ads tell you?
  • At least one approved use for the drug
  • The generic name of the drug
  • All the risks of using the drug

What are ads not required to tell you?
  • Cost
  • If there is a generic version of the drug (a drug with the same active ingredient that might be cheaper)
  • If there is a similar drug with fewer or different risks that can treat the condition
  • If changes in your behavior could help your condition (such as diet and exercise)
    • Sometimes this information is required. It depends on the prescribing information for the particular drug
  • How many people have the condition the drug treats
  • How the drug works (its "mechanism of action")
  • How quickly the drug works
    • However, if the ad claims that the drug works quickly, the ad must explain what "quickly" means
  • How many people who take the drug will be helped by it

The above are the parts of the FDA role in TV ads, to me it seems naive to think that this is adequate with prescriptions drugs that have complicated side effects, "may have serious (XYZ) side effects." "May cause death" is said so fast in some commercials that it gets missed with the happy people and upbeat music played. 
Instead of TV ads drug companies should be advertising on media where the dangers can be clearly instructed, like the web and written material, in pharmacies where it can be discussed with pharmacists.

One last argument I have against TV drug ads, what is best for a patient. An ad tells the viewer how wonderful they will be after taking this drug, the viewer builds a belief that this wonderful drug is going to make their life so much better. The patient visits the physician an for one reason or another the drug is not needed or will not improve health. Many patients walk away untrusting the Physician and or feeling the Physician just "Withheld" needed treatment. The belief a drug works is a powerful message. If the information was left up to the Physician this interference with care and treatment would not happen.