We’re Taking a Lot of Pills—But Some of Us Are Skipping THE Pill
Two studies tell us all about the state of the prescription drug industry.
Go ahead, guess: How many Americans do you think are on prescription meds? Twenty-five percent? Thirty?
Nope. The official figure is 48 percent. In other words, one of every two people is taking at least one prescription drug per month, according to a report from the federal National Center for Health Statistics. That’s a jump of 4 percent over the last ten years. The percentage of people taking two or more drugs per month jumped to 31 percent from 25 percent. What’s more, the overall cost of the drugs has doubled since 1999. The latest figures from the NCHS show that in 2008, spending for prescription drugs totaled $234.1 billion.
The most commonly prescribed drugs, according to the report, include asthma medicine for children; central nervous-system stimulants for adolescents; anti-depressants for middle-aged adults; and cholesterol-lowering drugs for senior citizens. People who had health insurance were almost twice as likely to have used a prescription drug in the past month when compared with people who had no health insurance.
In another study, researchers found that a daily text message reminding women to take their birth-control pill didn’t do as much good as they hoped it might.
A study by experts at Boston Medical Center focused on two groups of women: One group got daily text reminders to take their pill, and the other got no messages, but were encouraged to remember in a session with researchers at the beginning of the program.
The results were the same for both groups, and an electronic monitor showed that the average number of pills missed was five. This was about twice as much as researchers had expected, and, according to Reuters, may mean that the number of women who take the Pill correctly has been overestimated.
Jane Farrell is a senior editor at BettyConfidential.