December 3, 2004

STOP PAYING FOR THEM AND FOLKS WILL STOP TAKING THEM:

Americans Relying More on Prescription Drugs, Report Says (ROBERT PEAR, 12/03/04, NY Times)

More than 40 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug, and 17 percent take three or more, the government said Thursday in a comprehensive report on the nation's health. [...]

Use of prescription drugs in the United States is rising among people of all ages, and the nation's medicine chests are more crowded than ever.

Prescription drugs account for about 10 percent of the nation's total medical bill, but since 1995 drug spending has grown faster than spending for any other category of medical goods and services, the government said.

Nearly half of all women - 49 percent - were taking prescription drugs in 1999-2000, compared with 39 percent of men.


HSA's, by making you decide between keeping the money or buying the drugs, would cut out much of this junk.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 3, 2004 10:05 AM
Comments

This is not a bad thing. These drugs, for the most part, are helping people with real health problems. Why make the assumption that they are not?

Posted by: Robert Duquette at December 3, 2004 10:31 AM

Either what oj recommends or acknowledge that an affluent society will continue to willingly trade-off more health care (in general) on its utillity curve; and that pharmaceuticals often represent the most cost effective way to achieve this.

Posted by: Moe from NC at December 3, 2004 10:44 AM

Robert:

because studies show that for most of them a placebo has the same effect?

Posted by: oj at December 3, 2004 11:04 AM

What studies?

Posted by: Robert Duquette at December 3, 2004 12:16 PM

Robert --

I indulge, and even enjoy, oj's skepticism of Evolution (which I can see takes scientifically valid micro-concepts and packages them into a bit of a "grandiose theory of everything living"). But questioning pharmacopeia? Is this blog going to devolve into a hollistic medicine forum?

(My wife worked for the "evil" pharmaceutical industry for years. I am sure she could suggest numerous drugs whose efficacy is beyond reproach, especially as drug-making becomes less art and trial and error, and more biomolecular engineering. In fact, FDA approval requires that drugs show clear effectivess on placebo controlled clinical trials.)

Posted by: Moe from NC at December 3, 2004 12:40 PM

Moe:

Obviously there are some truly ill people who can be helped by certain drugs. When 40% of your population is taking drugs they're just as obviously taking a lot of stuff they don't need and that doesn't work.

http://www.ahrp.org/infomail/04/06/25.php

Posted by: oj at December 3, 2004 12:47 PM

So only severely ill people get prescriptions? No more blood pressure medicine, wait until you have a heart attack or stroke, and then we'll treat you, is that your ticket?

Posted by: Robert Duquette at December 6, 2004 1:00 PM

Robert:

No. Ledt folks have the option of the money or the drug.

Posted by: oj at December 6, 2004 1:03 PM
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