How does the US compare?
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Of course, all those drugs cost a lot of money for consumers, while generating mega-profits for Big Pharma. They’re one reason why “health care” costs so much – and perhaps one reason why our lives are shorter than many of those who spend less.

Between the cost of treatment and the tough economy, dependence on standard medicine sets a heavy burden on individuals. A new survey from Consumer Reports puts that burden into numbers.

Unsurprisingly, those who lack a prescription drug benefit fare worst, with 81% saying that, due to cost, they have done one of the following throughout the past year:

  • Declined a medical test (62%, up 29% over last year)
  • Put off a doctor’s visit (63%, up 16%)
  • Skipped a medical procedure (51%, up 12%)
  • Skipped filling a prescription (45%, up 19%)

More, 46% of them cut back on groceries and 58% on dining and entertainment so they could pay for “much-needed prescription medications.” And so did many of those who do have coverage: 21% and 28%, respectively.

And yet, despite all that,

People in the United States took more prescription drugs than ever last year, with the number of prescriptions increasing from 3.99 billion (with a cost of $308.6 billion) in 2010 to 4.02 billion (with a cost of $319.9 billion) in 2011. Those numbers and others appear in an annual profile of top prescription medicines published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

Focusing on “medications for central nervous system (CNS) disorders,” the authors found that, overall, antidepressants remain the most-prescribed class of drugs, with Xanax, Celexa and Zoloft as the most-prescribed psych drugs.

Make of that what you will. Meantime, saith the authors,

The industry should be heartened by the growth of the number of prescriptions and spending.

0 responses to “NOT Thinking Differently”

  1. The US has the FDA which certifies that approved drugs are effective. Drug marketing pushes the drugs to doctors and patients. The result is just what your graph is about. The UK has the National Health System (NHS) which makes use of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence ( which strongly focuses on cost effectiveness. By law the UK sticks to a drug budget. Interestingly, the UK has health care rated twice as good as the US at half the cost. I would feel better about the US situation if any government leader would just acknowledge the problem.

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