• Bridges Washington

Over medicated

Updated: Dec 20, 2019

Have you considered that the medical establishment seems determined to pass their patient responsibility and liability to the pharmaceutical industry?


I had a great-grandparent who was a no-nonsense country doctor many years ago. He was known for telling many of his patients in the 1930s and 40s that getting over a common illness would take 14 days with medication or two weeks without. What has changed in the past 80 years regarding medication? Nothing, except for the variety of drugs being offered, and the number of doctors eager to write a script. While popping a pill may boost one's immune system a bit to help fight infection and potentially make you "feel" better quicker, the process that the body goes through in the course of resolving the infection has not changed.


Consider some of the following numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 1988, 39.1% of all U.S. citizens had taken at least one prescription drug within the past 30 days. Compare that to 2014, 46.9% of the population had taken a prescription drug in the past 30 days. That results in a 20% increase in prescription drug use in less than thirty years. These are just those who admitted using one prescription drug. The study also questioned whether the sample groups had taken three or more or if they had taken five or more. This dependence appears to follow the pattern of an illegal drug dealer who is only interested in sales and not so much your actual health.

Now those taking three or more prescription drugs, in 1988 there were 11.8% taking that many prescriptions, in 2014, that number jumps to 21.5%. Those numbers represent an 82% increase in people taking three or more medications in thirty days. What about those taking FIVE or more medicines in the thirty days before the survey? In 1988, only 4% of those surveyed were taking five or more medications. In 2014, that number skyrocketed by nearly 200% to 11.9%. Please bear in mind that those in the survey were not in any healthcare institution.


Can anyone honestly attest to the damage being done due to the interactions of all these medications? No. I have an extended family member who after caring for her mother for nearly a decade due to dementia finally admitted not being able to care for her daily needs anymore. After placing her mother into a long term care facility, the doctor overseeing her mother's care reviewed the laundry list of medications that she was prescribed. Many of these medications the woman had been taking for years. After reviewing her record, the doctor stated that given the duration of time that she had been on these medications, most of them were likely having little effect on her health anymore. These perpetual prescriptions were removed from the mother's drug regime with no apparent ill effects.


In October of 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services conducted an analysis of U.S. versus International prices for the top Medicare part B drugs. Seventeen countries, including the U.S., were in the study. Of the twenty-seven different medications listed in the comparison, the U.S. is paying an average of 80% more for the same drugs than most of the developed world. The U.S. is spending less than the international average for just two of the medicines listed and the "discount" for those two is five percent or less. The premium for some of the drugs in the study, however, is considerable. There is a chemotherapy-related drug that the U.S. pays nearly seven, yes seven, times the international average. For another drug used for macular degeneration the premium the U.S. is paying is over five times the average. I do find it rather interesting that the drugs with the highest premium are those that could have the highest fear factor associated with them. Would you like cancer to consume you, which it may do anyway, or would you like to go blind?

Take away

What has happened in the past thirty years that would warrant such a dramatic increase in so many components attributed to healthcare? I believe that there are still too many people who aren't asking the right questions. I have personally seen and felt the impact of someone in my life receiving the wrong medication. Many in the medical profession are actively treating symptoms and not actually looking for the root cause of the underlying condition. I believe that much of this can and should be attributed to a male-dominated profession that have historically dismissed women's health-related issues as being hormonal. I would suggest that if you or someone you know is having problems that are currently being attributed to mental health or hormones that you consider looking into thyroid issues.

For further details you should consider having a look at the two sources listed:

Escalation of U.S. prescription drug use: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/2017/079.pdf

Premium U.S. Drug prices: https://aspe.hhs.gov/system/files/pdf/259996/ComparisonUSInternationalPricesTopSpendingPartBDrugs.pdf

Additionally, you might also consider having a look at these two articles:



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