Ethan A. Huff,
April 10, 2011
A recent U.S. News & World Report piece highlights new studies that point to serious problems down the road for the over-medicated population. According to reports, more than 60 percent of American adults now take at least one drug every day for a chronic health problem, and more than half of seniors take at least three medications every day. But the end result is more diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, arthritis and cancer.
While some disease rates have declined over the years, many others have rapidly increased in their place, even though a lot more people take pharmaceutical drugs than they used to. The cause, say many, is the drugs themselves. And experts fear that millions of people are being over-diagnosed and over-medicated due to aggressive, uncontrolled marketing by drug companies, which is exacerbating the problem even more.
Most of the approved drugs on the market today are backed by studies very limited in scope. Besides having been manipulated to show favorable results, most studies evaluate the effects of drugs on a very limited cross-section of people with isolated illness symptoms, and for a very short period of time. Little, if any, consideration is given to the long-term effects of such drugs on a wide spectrum of diverse people.
Another major problem is off-label prescription practices in which doctors prescribe drugs for conditions the drugs were not meant to treat. And drug companies themselves play a major role in making this happen by literally paying doctors to recommend certain drugs to their patients, even if the drugs are unnecessary. A great example of this was identified in a government report back in March that found that 22 percent of Massachusetts nursing home residents had been prescribed antipsychotic medications for conditions they did not have.
Some experts are calling on regulatory reform to end the cozy relationship between agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and drug companies, which many now recognize as a primary cause of the problem.
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This article was posted: Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 6:13 am