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Over Prescribed America

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The editors at Top Masters in Healthcare decided to research the topic of:

Over Prescribed America

"Americans have been led to believe -- by their doctors, by advertisers and by the pharmaceutical industry -- that there is a pill to cure just about anything that ails them."

HOW MANY AMERICANS TAKE A PRESCRIPTION DRUG?


- 4.02 billion: number of prescriptions written in the U.S. in 2011
- 46: percentage of American adults that take prescription drugs (2012)
- 34: percentage of American adults taking at least one prescription drug
- 11.5: percentage of American adults taking three or more prescription drugs
- 6.5: percentage of American adults taking 4 or more prescription drugs

AVERAGE NUMBER OF PRESCRIPTIONS


- 13: average number of prescriptions per person in the U.S. in 2011
- 4.1: average number of prescriptions taken by American adults (2012)
- 12: the number of prescriptions filled by the average American each year

DEMOGRAPHICS

Age:


- 23: percentage of Americans aged 18-24 years old on a prescription drug
- 46: percentage of American adults aged 55 and above on a prescription drug
- 12.6: percentage of Americans aged 65 and above taking 4 or more drugs

Income:


- 20.4: percentage of those earning $100,000 - $149,000 that said they take one prescription drug
- 14: percentage of those making less than $100,000 that said they take one prescription drug
- 10.5: percentage of those earning $0 - $24,999 said they were taking 4 or more prescription drugs
- 3-5: percentage of those earning $50,000 - $100,000 said they were taking 4 or more prescription drugs

Cost:


- $208 billion: amount spent on prescription drugs by Americans in 2001 - almost double that spent in 1996
- $234 billion: the amount of money spent on prescription drugs in the U.S. in 2008
- $325.7 billion: the amount of money spent on prescription drugs in the U.S. in 2012 (a 1% drop from 2011)

RISKS:


- 16: percentage of hospital admissions that were related to adverse reactions to medicines
- 4th: leading cause of death in the U.S. ahead of pulmonary disease, diabetes, AIDS and automobile deaths4
- 70: number of potential reactions in the average drug
- 106,000: number of deaths per year from adverse drug reactions from drugs that are properly prescribed and administered7
- 10,000: number of deaths per year from illegal drugs

PHARMACEUTICAL SALES INDUSTRY

Industry Regulations:


- 1997: FDA regulations changed - now companies can name both the drug and its purpose, while only naming the most significant potential side effects
- 80: average number of drug ads every hour of every day on American television9
- 17.9: percentage of increase in prescription drug sales attributed to television advertising in 2002
- 1/3: number of consumers who've seen a drug ad and have talked to their doctor about it
- 2/3: of the above ask for a prescription - the majority of which are given the prescription by a doctor (2009)
- 7 million: number of people who took antidepressants in 2001
- $4 billion: amount spent a year on ads to consumers by pharmaceutical companies

Sources


- http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/05/31/med.nation.too.many.meds/index.html
- http://www.naturalnews.com/037226_drug_prescriptions_medical_news_pills.html#ixzz2VlDeYjf0
- http://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/many-struggling-with-prescription-drug-costs/
- http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidmaris/2012/07/24/1-in-3-american-adults-take-prescription-drugs/
- http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/08/business/tv-ads-spur-a-rise-in-prescription-drug-sales.html
- http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/19/business/use-of-generics-produces-an-unusual-drop-in-drug-spending.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
- http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/06/09/average-drug-label-lists-over-whopping-70-side-effects.aspx


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