Rochester, Minn. (CW Global Media) – A disturbing new report from the Mayo Clinic shows that 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug. Researchers also find that more than one half of Americans receive at least two prescriptions.
The study was conducted to uncover and analyze prescription practices in the United States. The Mayo Clinic confirms that antibiotics, antidepressants and painkiller opioids are the most common medicines prescribed to Americans.
Women tend to receive more prescription drugs than men. For women aged 50-64, nearly 25% are on a permanent anti-depressant. Overall, over 13% of the US population, some 35 million people, are on at least one antidepressant.
While older women and older adults in general receive the most prescription drugs, antidepressants and opioids are the most common in young and middle-aged adults. Analysts are concerned about the trend for opioids and antidepressants, due to their addictive and mood-altering properties, respectively.
Dr. St. Sauver of the Mayo Clinic expresses concern: “Often when people talk about health conditions they’re talking about chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. However, the second most common prescription was for antidepressants – that suggests mental health is a huge issue and is something we should focus on. And the third most common drugs were opioids, which is a bit concerning considering their addictive nature.”
There is big money to be made from Big Pharma. Between the years 1999-2000, only 44% of the US population took one prescription drug. Now just a bit out of a decade, that figure is up to 70%. This shows a drastic increase of 26% more people being put on prescription drugs in a ten-year span. With the Affordable Care Act going into full effect between 2014 and 2015, this number will only increase as physicians can prescribe more drugs and know that people who would be without insurance can now get whatever drugs a physician indicates as necessary.
In 2009, reports show that expenditures for private health care coverage of prescription drugs alone cost over $250 billion. This figure does not include data for Medicare or Medicaid/ObamaCare programs.
Cause for Concern?
From the consumer/patient end, many have expressed concern about doctors getting ‘kickbacks’ and incentives from pharmaceutical companies to dole out certain medicine. Interviews with people who work in the healthcare profession indicate that pharmaceutical companies regularly ‘leave behind’ pens, brochures, sticky tablets and even copious samples of their new drugs during education sessions.
Pharmaceutical representatives from various companies regularly greet and treat staff of medical facilities with catered food and drink, all in their education sessions about their new products. These actions have people concerned that there may be more than backroom sandwich deals taking place between physicians and Big Pharma, with the insurance coverage and wallets of the patients being the currency of discussion and trade in the relationship.
Do physicians in America over-medicate? Feel free to chime in with your opinion and experience on the issue.