America The Druged

America The Drugged....

 

Do you get nervous before speaking in front of a group of people?  Thirty years ago a doctor might have diagnosed you as being “human” and assured you that most people experience feelings like that. Today, however, you could receive a diagnosis like “social anxiety disorder”, “generalized anxiety disorder,” or “panic disorder” and receive a prescription for alprazolam, lorazepam, or diazepam.

Where did all of these disorders come from and how can we have a separate drug for each and every one of them?

How many times have you heard a commercial that ends with, “Ask you doctor if (insert random drug name here) is right for you.”

Did you know that the United States is 1 of only 2 countries in the civilized world that allows pharmaceutical companies to market directly to the consumer?

Does this have any influence on the prescribing patterns of doctors? According to this story from CNN, it certainly did for Vytorin. Vytorin is a popular cholesterol drug which a recently released study showed to be useless against heart disease. Amid a $200 million advertising blitz in the US, Vytorin sold four times more here than in Canada, where pharmaceutical advertising is illegal. Even though the study was completed two years ago, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures Vytorin is just now releasing the results, after raking in $5 billion in sales for the drug.

The United States makes up 6% of the world population and consumes over half of the world’s prescription drugs, that is over 2 BILLION prescriptions each year. Even with that much medication, we are still ranked in the bottom half of civilized nations in terms of health care efficiencyEach year 2.2 million US hospital patients experience adverse drug reactions from taking prescription medications. Of these, 106,000 dieMore than 1/3 of a pharmaceutical company’s resources go into marketing. Annually the industry spends up to $60 billion on drug marketing, nearly TWICE what it spends on research and development

The pharmaceutical and health product industry has spent more than $800 MILLION for lobbying efforts at the federal and state levels over the past seven years, more than any other industry except for the insurance industry. These efforts have defeated several measures aimed at containing drug prices and resulted in TENS OF BILLIONS of dollars in additional profits.

This is the reality of our current health care system.