Well­ness Arti­cles

Amer­i­cans Take More Drugs Than Any Other Nation

An April 17, 2005 Asso­ci­ated Press (AP) story printed in many pub­li­ca­tions reports that Amer­i­cans are the most med­icated pop­u­la­tion in the world. Accord­ing to the U.S. cen­tres for Dis­ease Con­trol (CDC), approx­i­mately 130 mil­lion Amer­i­cans swal­low, inject, inhale, infuse, spray and pat on pre­scrip­tion med­ica­tions every month.

Accord­ing to IMS Health, a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal con­sult­ing com­pany, over the past decade the usage of pre­scrip­tion drugs by Amer­i­cans has increased by 2/​3rds to an incred­i­ble 3.5 bil­lion pre­scrip­tions per year. Addi­tion­ally, IMS Health reports that their polling finds that Amer­i­cans devour even more non­pre­scrip­tion drugs.

The AP story notes that the con­se­quences to this large usage are grave. The arti­cle points out that land­mark med­ical stud­ies of the 1990s sug­gest that well over 125,000 peo­ple die from drug reac­tions and mis­takes each year. They note that phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals are the fourth-​leading national cause of death after heart dis­ease, can­cer and stroke.

When placed in per­spec­tive, the vol­ume of med­ica­tion usage in the US becomes more evi­dent. The arti­cle notes Amer­i­cans spent as much on drugs last year as they did for gaso­line. Accord­ing to drug indus­try con­sul­tants the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal indus­try did more than $250 bil­lion worth of sales last year, the vast major­ity in pre­scrip­tion med­ica­tions. That trans­lated into $850 for every American.

Dr. Mar­cia Angell, for­mer edi­tor of the New Eng­land Jour­nal of Med­i­cine and author of “The Truth About the Drug Com­pa­nies”, com­mented, “We are tak­ing way too many drugs for dubi­ous or exag­ger­ated ail­ments.” He con­tin­ued, “What the drug com­pa­nies are doing now is pro­mot­ing drugs for long-​term use to essen­tially healthy peo­ple. Why? Because it’s the biggest market.”

Ran­dom Article

On April 6, 2006, WebMD reported on a study that is to be pub­lished in the May 2006 issue of Can­cer Causes and Controls

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