New Drugs Are Often Not As Good As Older Less Expensive Ones

Frugal Living Tips
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June 21, 2002 Issue

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Published 1st & 3rd Friday Of Each Month
Vol. 8, June 21, 2002

Here is the latest issue. Enjoy!
Editor, Rick Doble

  1. IN DEPTH: Drug Pushers
    Expensive prescriptions may not be necessary
    When you should never fill up your car with gas
    July is a great month for close-outs and clearance
    How I got the credit card company to find its error
    Very simple, thorough test of any car. No tools!
    Get free and almost free T-shirts
  7. In our next issue
  8. About our advertisers
    We looked for good values from reputable merchants. Read our pledge to our readers if you encounter a problem.
  9. About SAVVY-DISCOUNTS.com

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A flurry of reports on TV network news and in the Wall Street Journal have pointed out that drug companies are now marketing expensive prescriptions because they can make more money. However, less expensive generics or very even cheaper over-the-counter (OTC) medications are often as good or better.

Here are some examples: The patents are running out on two money making drugs, Prilosec and Claritin which means that a lower cost generic should be available soon. As a result drug companies have invested heavily in marketing and advertising two newer prescription brand name drugs to replace Prilosec and Claritin: Nexium and Clarinex. Dr. Ken Frisof said in a CBS Evening News report (5/7/02): "The clinical evidence that these drugs are better is just not there."

In another example, a patient with arthritis can pay over $70 a month for the prescription Vioxx or less than $10 a month for over-the-counter ibuprofen. Moreover, many patients will find the ibuprofen to be as effective or better than the expensive brand name prescription.

Even the AARP has gotten into the act with prime time advertisements that aim to educate consumers about unnecessary drug expenses.

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When you need to treat a chronic or recurring condition:

A.) First: try over-the-counter medicine if available. For example, Editor, Rick Doble found that just one Advil pill worked better for him on certain headaches than an expensive prescription medicine. There are a variety of pain relief drugs that sell OTC and could be tried before going to the next step. To save even more money try the generic version of OTC medicine if available.

B.) Second: if strategy A does not work try less expensive generic prescription drugs for your condition.

C.) Third: if strategies A & B do not work, try brand name prescription drugs, starting with ones that have been on the market for the longest time. If you find a time tested drug works, you are less likely to be surprised by unexpected side effects and also that drug will be available in a generic version sooner.
NOTE: Make sure that the prescription your doctor writes will allow you to buy a generic if and when it is available.

D.) If all else fails and as a last resort, try a new expensive brand name prescription drug.

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Never put gas in your automobile when a tanker truck is filling the holding tanks at the service station. Why? The filling process is bound to stir up sediment normally settled on the bottom. This sediment may get into the gasoline you put in your car. Junk in your gas can lead to clogged fuel lines, carburetors, fuel injectors and so on.

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July is one of the best times to look for clearance sales of warm weather clothing including bathing suits and beach items. Watch for special sidewalk and other sales. In July you will still find a good selection. Look for store brand clothing *below cost* at the end of the month and into August.

The reason there are major sales at this time is that stores are getting ready for the "Back to School" season which one of their biggest. In July you might even find some early specials on back-to-school clothes.

Look for sales on: bicycles, furniture, mattresses, refrigerators, tires, washers & dryers.

Fruits and vegetables (local growers should sell these fresh and cheap): apples, apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cabbage, cantaloupe, celery, chard, cherries, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, green or wax beans, green onions, green peppers, lemons, lima beans, limes, lettuce, nectarines, okra, peaches, peas, plums, squash, tomatoes, watercress, watermelon.

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From Editor, Rick Doble

In the last issue I told you how my credit card company mistakenly charged me with a late fee and then almost doubled the interest on my account.

I called the company and insisted that I had mailed the monthly payment well in advance. I could tell that the clerks did not believe me. I decided that the check must have gotten lost in their system. I stayed on the phone until I was finally put in touch with a person who was not in the consumer end of the business but the accounting section. In just a few minutes she discovered the error: I had two credit cards with the company; the payment had mistakenly been posted to the wrong account.

It took two months to get full refunds of all the penalties that resulted and again I had to be insistent. I got the definite impression that if I had not pointed out most wrong charges, they would never have tried to catch the errors. For example, after tacking on a late fee, they added insult to injury by charging me interest on that fee in the next billing cycle.

This example points out a couple of principles about complaining: when you get junk answers or the run around, go one level higher in the chain of command. Be polite but firm. I have found that supervisors consistently are more intelligent and often have authority to solve problems quickly. It was just such insistence that got me to the right department so the error could be discovered.

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This very easy test will give you an excellent idea of how your car (or any car) is running. You don't need tools or even have to open the hood! We recommend doing this on a highway when there is little or no traffic. Late at night is often a good time.

Drive a thoroughly warmed-up car (at least five minutes), from a full stop to about 55 MPH (or faster depending on the speed limit) accelerating smoothly and quickly. Notice how the gears shift, any hesitation, any roughness in the running of the engine, any shaking of the tires, body or steering wheel. Take your hands off the steering wheel for just a moment. Does the car drift to one side or the other? Then bring the vehicle to a full stop. As you apply the brakes, does it pull left or right when you take your hands briefly off the wheel?

If it passes all these tests, your auto is probably running fine; if not, run the test again and note any problems. If you report the results to a mechanic, he or she may be able to diagnose any trouble.

NOTE: Listening to sounds your car makes is a good habit to get into. Abnormal noises are often a sign of problems which might be diagnosed early preventing costly repairs and accidents.

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#6. QUICK TIP: Almost Free and Free T-Shirts

At the end of an outdoor festival, you may find that those expensive T-shirts are going for a song or even free. Once a celebration is over these colorful garbs seem to lose their glow. Festival owners need to get rid of any remaining T-shirts or risk loosing their shirts! Look for $1 deals and at the very end even free - no one wants to haul around and store old T-shirts from a bygone event.

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The next newsletter will fall on the Friday after July 4th, when most of us want to relax and not think of serious things. So we'll keep that issue light and short.

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In the event of any problem with a merchant that we list, we will try to help resolve your dispute. Your purchase must have been processed though a link on our newsletter or web site.
As a consumer publication for 8 years, we at SAVVY-DISCOUNTS.com have considerable experience in consumer and complaint matters. Further if we experience a large number of complaints from any merchant, we will no longer list that merchant with our newsletter.
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    is used by the national media, such as:
  • ABC-TV's TheView (Supermarket Secrets)
  • Woman's Day (3 articles)
  • Woman's World (6 articles)
  • Mademoiselle
  • Bottom Line/Personal (12 articles)
  • SweepsFeed - a TV syndicated news service for national distribution (2 interviews)
  • Editor, Rick Doble interviewed by WTVJ (NBC) Miami, FL, May 2002
  • Editor, Rick Doble is under contract with Penguin Books to write a book tentatively entitled Breaking the Price Barrier

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Impulse Buying
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