Life Extension Magazine April 2007
As We See It
Slashing the High Cost of Prescription Drugs
By William Faloon and Saul Kent
There has never been an organization that has battled high drug prices more aggressively than the Life Extension Foundation.
Back in the early 1980s, Life Extension was the first to suggest that Americans buy their drugs from countries where these same medications cost a fraction of the price. We went on national TV talk shows, ran full-page newspaper ads, and even set up the FDA Museum to expose how Americans were being defrauded by a monopolistic drug cartel protected by the Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA retaliated by raiding our facilities, seizing our property, and intimidating everyone with whom we interacted, including a radio station sympathetic to our cause.
The FDA’s 15-year criminal investigation resulted in our being indicted with the possibility of facing life in prison. When the US Attorney’s Office dismissed the indictment, the FDA tried to convince other government agencies to find some reason to jail us so that we could not keep telling Americans to buy their medications offshore.
Free-Market Forces Temporarily Prevail
By 1999, it appeared that our nearly two-decade campaign had succeeded. Just about every media source was featuring stories about how Americans could buy their prescription drugs for far less money in countries like Canada. The Internet made it easy to locate pharmacies that would ship lower-priced drugs. Even Congress attacked the FDA for interfering with elderly people who tried to import lower-cost prescription drugs. As a result, millions of Americans began ordering their medications from other countries.
Regrettably, pharmaceutical company influence continues to pressure federal agencies to seize lower-cost prescription drugs from other countries. The FDA’s website (www.fda.gov) is filled with all kinds of horror stories about the purported dangers of drugs obtained from outside the United States.
Consumers Don’t Have to Tolerate This Abuse Anymore
The outrageous cost of prescription drugs is forcing some people to go broke paying for their medicines. Those with insurance are stunned to see sharply increased drug copays and policy premiums. The Medicare prescription drug bill has so many exclusions that relatively few people benefit.1-3
Consumers no longer have to tolerate this pillaging of their pocketbooks. Our nearly three-decade investigation into the FDA-protected drug industry has enabled us to establish the Life Extension Pharmacy.
While the Life Extension Pharmacy will provide its clients with unique lifesaving services, its primary mission is to permanently tear down the high drug costs that are bankrupting America.
Absolute Lowest Prices
For a variety of bureaucratic reasons, Americans pay the highest prices in the world for their prescription drugs. While the Life Extension Pharmacy has to comply with these same burdensome regulations, we have identified more efficient (but still legal) ways of ensuring that our clients obtain the same drugs, but at sharply reduced prices.
Even if you think you are already paying low generic rates, you will be pleasantly surprised to see the rock-bottom prices offered only by the Life Extension Pharmacy. In fact, for many drugs, you will find Life Extension Pharmacy prices are lower than what they sell for in Canada!
Stop Overpaying for Cardiac Drugs
Tens of millions of Americans take “statin” drugs to lower heart attack and stroke risk. However, few consumers are aware that patents have expired on drugs like Zocor® and Pravachol®. Instead of passing the savings on to their customers, major discount pharmacy chains have chosen to pocket most of the profits on generic versions of these drugs. All that is about to change.
The Life Extension Pharmacy offers simvastatin (the generic name for Zocor®) and pravastatin (the generic name for Pravachol®) at the super-low prices shown in Table 1 below.
As you can clearly see, you can enjoy huge savings compared to what you may now be paying for the identical generic drug.
If you are taking brand-name drugs like Lipitor®, the amount of money you can save by switching to a generic statin is astronomical. For example, it costs $247.99 for 90 10-mg tablets of Lipitor® at CVS drugstore. By purchasing simvastatin through the Life Extension Pharmacy, your cost for a comparable dosage plummets by 496%!
We Don’t Sell Cigarettes!
It’s ironic, but the very pharmacies we trust with our lives have no qualms about offering tobacco products at their front door. Walk down the aisles toward the the rear, and you often pass trans-fat-laden foods, lethal over-the-counter drugs, and other hazardous products for sale.
Can you really have confidence in your pharmacy when it sells products that cause the majority of preventable premature deaths in the United States?
If you don’t think there is something wrong with pharmacies selling a product as addictive as cigarettes, think of how many people are trying to quit, but are tempted to purchase a fresh pack of smokes every time they visit their pharmacy.
One reason people can’t stop smoking is that it is so convenient to satisfy nicotine cravings at the same place where other products are purchased. With retail pharmacies sitting along major intersections, the fact that they sell addictive lethal products is hypocritical, to say the least.
What’s particularly ironic is that consumers who purchase dangerous products at the pharmacy later wind up at the same pharmacies—having to buy prescription drugs to treat the diseases caused by the very same toxic products!
Not only will Life Extension Pharmacy never sell cigarettes, but as you will soon read, our new approach to pharmacy practice takes unprecedented steps to protect you against the toxic side effects of prescription med-ications.
Drugs That Deplete Nutrients
An overlooked side effect of prescription drugs is that they can deplete vital nutrients in the body. Classic examples of this are diuretic drugs used to treat hypertension. While diuretic drugs are cost effective in lowering blood pressure, they deplete the body of essential minerals like magnesium and potassium.4
Many doctors recognize the potassium-depletion risk of diuretics, but most fail to compensate for the magnesium deficiency that can severely exacerbate vascular disease.
The documentation that statin drugs deplete coenzyme Q10 in the body is so significant that pharmaceutical giant Merck® owns patents to combine statin drugs with CoQ10 to protect against a statin-induced CoQ10 deficiency.
Deficiencies of magnesium5-11 and coenzyme Q1012-14 are strongly linked with increased heart disease risk. Despite overwhelming scientific documentation, statin and diuretic drugs are often prescribed without a warning about the critical need to supplement with CoQ10 and magnesium.
In the face of dire warnings about vascular disease epidemics caused by drug-induced nutrient depletion, commercial pharmacies have abysmally neglected their clients by not informing them about which nutrients to take with their medications.
As a Life Extension Pharmacy customer, you will be notified if your particular prescription drugs have been shown to cause a nutrient deficiency and informed about how to safely compensate for this problem.
Side-Effect Early Warning
Long before the lethal side effects of Vioxx® became headline news, Life Extension warned it members about the potential side-effect risks of COX-2 inhibitor drugs.15 We issued our alert based on the metabolic imbalances that occur if only the COX-2 enzyme is inhibited in the body.
If the Life Extension Pharmacy had been around in 2001, we would have suggested ways that would have enabled COX-2 inhibitors to be more safely used, or suggested alternative approaches to chronic pain relief.
Unlike commercial pharmacies that act merely as order-fulfillment proxies for the drug industry, the Life Extension Pharmacy’s mission is to provide the safest and most effective medications to clients at the absolute lowest prices. While we cannot guarantee that we will discover the lethal side effects of all newly approved drugs like we did with COX-2 inhibitors, the Life Extension Pharmacy is committed to protecting the health of its customers—while saving them huge dollars on their prescription drug purchases.