Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "prescription drugs" ...

  • Global News/Toronto Star: Dispensing Harm

    After months of data analysis, a collaboration of Canadian journalists exposed drug-dealing pharmacists who abuse their professional privileges for personal profit. These rogue pharmacists traffic large quantities of prescription drugs, providing a supply line of illicit drugs to the street and contributing to the deadly opioid epidemic. The investigation also found that the government has the tools to crack down on this criminal behavior, but isn't using them.
  • Columbus Dispatch: Side Effects

    Side Effects is an ongoing investigation into the rising costs or prescription drugs and the questionable practice of pharmacy benefit managers that led to these cost increases.
  • 60 Minutes: The Rockford File

    A look at the fight that Rockford, Ill., took up against the high cost of prescription drugs explains why they cost more in the U.S. than nearly every other place in the world. Lesley Stahl's report pulls back the curtain on a drug distribution chain in which just about every link has the potential to make money when prices go up.
  • Dangerous Doses

    For one story, “The hunt for dangerous doses,” investigative reporter Sam Roe led a collaboration with data scientists, pharmacologists and cellular researchers at Columbia University Medical Center in an attempt to discover potentially deadly combinations of prescription drugs. Intrigued by the novel data mining algorithms developed by Columbia scientist Nicholas Tatonetti, Roe proposed that the two team up to search for drug combinations that might cause a potentially fatal heart condition. Roe also recruited Dr. Ray Woosley, the leading authority on that condition and a former dean of the University of Arizona medical school, to the team. Over two years, as he orchestrated the project, Roe traveled to New York 12 times to meet with Tatonetti. They brainstormed, analyzed data and talked with Woosley via conference calls. Several of Tatonetti’s graduate students joined the team, as did Columbia cellular researchers whose work provided a critical layer of validation of the results.
  • Medical Waste

    WVUE’s groundbreaking investigation “Medical Waste” - which uncovered a secretive practice employed by major health insurance companies essentially forcing consumers to pay a premium back to the insurance company for their prescription drugs - led to changes in state law, was the evidentiary backbone of eleven lawsuits, and most importantly educated consumers on how to pay for life-changing medications. http://www.vimeo.com/leezurik/MedicalWasteIREAwardEntry
  • Dollars for Docs

    ProPublica first published Dollars for Docs, our comprehensive database of payments to doctors made by pharmaceutical companies for speaking, consulting, etc., in 2010. Millions of people have looked up their doctors, and hundreds of news organizations have used the data to tell important investigative stories. But it was only this year that, thanks to some painstaking work, we were able to match pharmaceutical payments with prescribing habits. And our findings were dispositive: Doctors who take payments tend to prescribe more brand-name drugs. Moreover, thousands of doctors who have had disciplinary actions against them by their state licensing boards are still getting pharma payments, and a greater share of physicians who work at for-profit hospitals take payments compared to those working at nonprofit or government facilities. https://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/ https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/d4d-hospital-lookup
  • Drug Problems: Dangerous Decision-Making at the FDA

    The public depends on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ensure that medicines are safe and effective, but through many months and almost 30,000 words of reporting, POGO’s ongoing “Drug Problems” investigation has revealed dangerously lax FDA oversight of prescription drugs. We found that the FDA has set low standards, approved drugs based on flawed clinical trials, taken a toothless approach toward doctors who violate standards of clinical research, allowed misleading marketing, provided inadequate warnings about drug hazards, slighted reports of drug-related deaths and injuries, withheld important information from the public, and made other dubious judgments that advanced the interests of pharmaceutical companies while putting patients at potentially deadly risk. Among other developments detailed in our package: After we exposed a potentially crippling flaw in the testing of a blockbuster drug, the FDA and its European counterpart said they were reexamining the clinical trial upon which they had based the drug’s approval.
  • The Dysfunction in Drug Prices

    The U.S. market for prescription drugs is an Alice-in-Wonderland corner of capitalism, immune to the usual forces of supply and demand. A team of Wall Street Journal reporters exposed the inner workings of a dysfunctional system that fuels corporate profits on unrestrained price increases, with no accountability to the patients, businesses and government payers that must bear the cost.
  • Prescription Kids

    Foster children in Colorado are prescribed psychotropic drugs, including powerful anti-psychotics with harmful side effects, at five times the rate of other kids.
  • Costly Generics

    Generic drugs now make up around 80 percent of prescriptions filled, and many assume generics are always cheap. But a PBS NewsHour Weekend investigation found that’s not always the case. Retail prices for generic drugs can vary wildly from pharmacy to pharmacy – a fact few consumers know anything about. The story was very personal for PBS NewsHour Weekend correspondent Megan Thompson, whose mother Carol discovered that the cost of a month’s supply of her generic breast cancer drug Letrozole ranged from around $10 to more than $400 at pharmacies around the Twin Cities. Thompson also spoke to Lisa Gill at Consumer Reports who led a national survey of retail prices for five new generics. Gill said their results were unprecedented - the biggest price variations they’d ever seen in a drug pricing study. The consequences of these huge price variations can be dire. The uninsured, or people with inadequate drug coverage or high deductibles, could overpay by hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Or, they could end up going without medications they need. Thompson interviewed Lisa Duncan of Brooklyn Park, MN, who is bipolar and has a history of suicide attempts. After she became uninsured, she couldn’t afford a big-name chain’s price of more than $100 for one of her prescriptions, so she left the store empty-handed. Duncan says she found the same drug at CostCo for a tenth of the price and was able take the drug again as needed. As the nation grapples with skyrocketing health care costs, “Costly Generics” is an important consumer story that shines a light on the murky prescription drug marketplace, where it’s hard to know how much drugs are supposed to cost, and is very difficult to find or compare prices. And vulnerable populations who need medications the most – the elderly, or chronically ill -- may also be the least likely to have to have the resources to navigate this opaque marketplace. One viewer wrote that after watching the story, she called around and found her prescription for $28 at a local drug store, compared to $72 at CVS.