One nation, under meds
That’s a whole lot of more, more, more where we could really use less, less, less.
Of course, the easiest path to “less” is to simply stop using Big Pharma’s meds when natural remedies, lifestyle changes and good nutrition will do–but don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen, because a new study finds that nearly half of all Americans are now taking at least one prescription med.
The CDC says the number of Americans who used at least one prescription drug per month in 2008 rose by 10 percent over the course of the previous decade, from 44 percent of us to 48 percent.
And that’s not even the worst of it–because the same study finds that 37 percent of Americans over the age of 60 now take at least five meds every month.
With so many seniors now maxing out on meds, Big Pharma has turned its sights onto its next target: Children. And they’re succeeding–because the study also finds that one out of every five children age 11 or younger took at least one med each month in 2008, with asthma and allergy drugs the two most common treatments.
Some things just don’t get better with age… because as we get older, we move on to other drugs (or just add them to the growing collection). The CDC report also finds that ADHD drugs are tops among adolescents, antidepressants are number one among adults, and seniors are now given statins more than any other med.
And if you thought the number of people taking meds was on the rise, you should see the pricetag–because while drug use rose by 10 percent over that decade, spending doubled. Americans spent $234.1 billion on meds in 2008 alone.
That dramatic increase isn’t just due to more people taking drugs–it’s due to already-high prices that have climbed to astronomical rates.
AARP says brand-name drug prices shot up 41.5 between 2004 and 2009, far in excess of the 13.3 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index during that period. And some of the biggest jumps were in drugs about to lose patent protection.
For example, the price of Flomax shot up 92 percent over that five-year period, including 25 percent in 2009 alone, its final year under patent protection.
And yet despite those rising prices–and despite the growing numbers of people of all ages taking prescription drugs–meds haven’t gotten any safer.
There were a record 1,742 drug recalls in 2009, up from 426 in 2008. Even when you remove the 1,000 or so meds recalled due to problems at a single generic drug repackager, that still represents a shocking increase of 50 percent over the previous year.
And we’re on pace for 600 more drug recalls this year, according to the trade publication Gold Sheet.
The shame of it is that so many of these drugs weren’t even necessary in the first place. Statins, antidepressants, ADHD drugs, allergy meds and more can almost always be replaced by simple lifestyle changes or natural remedies.
I write to you about many of these safe, proven alternatives week after week–and you can always search the online archives at Health Revelations for your answers.
Another great resource is the extensive free online library at the Health Sciences Institute.
By keeping yourself informed and working with a good naturopathic physician, you can wean yourself free of meds –-or help make sure you’re never given those prescriptions in the first place.
And you can take yourself out of that endless cycle of “more.”
On a mission for your health,
Editor, House Calls