Fish Oil Now by Prescription

Yes, you read that correctly. But don’t worry–fish oil will still be sold here and at your health food store.

Believe me, I was surprised when the drug rep came in with samples and said the fish oil capsules her company was making would be covered under most health insurance plans. I have mixed emotions about this.

On the plus side, it means the FDA finally acknowledges that fish oil is effective. The FDA sanctions only fish oil’s ability to lower a certain type of fat circulating in the blood called triglycerides, though we also know fish oil ramps up mood-boosting serotonin, protects against heart disease, and has benefits as an anti-inflammatory.

FDA approval means the company can advertise in medical journals and on TV, and as a result conventional doctors, often oblivious to the benefits of nutritional supplements, might learn something about fish oil.

On the downside, before you ask your doc for a prescription, brace yourself. A bottle of 180 capsules will set you back $240. That’s right. You didn’t misread the price.

“Why so outrageously expensive?” I bleated to the drug rep. She told me it was because their product was more concentrated than the health food store brands.

Reading the label, I saw it was true. Still, on a cost-per-milligram basis, the prescription product was 800% higher than everywhere else. Otherwise it’s the same omega-3 fish oil, same great stuff.

The real reason for this outrageous price is obvious: the drug company is gambling that doctors will write prescriptions unaware of fish oil’s retail price (it’s widely available for far less at drug stores). Patients with health insurance might be willing to pay a $40 co-payment while health insurance companies pick up the $200 difference. There’s a tidy profit for you.

Knowing all this, you’ll understand why some pharmaceutical companies are trying to get the FDA to approve other highly effective supplements already widely available over the counter, such as St. John’s wort, 5-HTP, black cohosh, and chasteberry.

Of course, health insurance companies aren’t foolish–they do like to keep all the money you spend on premiums for themselves and their shareholders. My guess is they’ll ramp up the co-payment to about $100 to ensure they pay a smaller share.

So it’s official: fish oil is FDA-approved. And really, if you aren’t taking one or  two grams (1,000 to 2,000 mg) every day, you’re missing out on a very helpful nutritional. To start now, and spend a lot less money, click here.

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