Did you see the CNN special on prescription drugs (Deadly Dose: A Dr. Sanjay Gupta Investigation)?
Here are just two of the many interesting facts that came out during the segment;
- 90% of the world’s opiate prescription drugs are consumed in the U.S and
- between 1997 and 2007 the prescription of opioids increased more than 600%.
For those of you who have followed my coverage of the pharmaceutical industry starting with my 2009 post “Antipsychotic Prescriptions . . . for Children: Is the Medicaid Story Today’s Version of Go Ask Alice?,” in which I discussed the prescribing of these powerful drugs to children between the ages of 3 and 17, you will know that my research points to some pretty shocking revelations.
This being said I have to admit that the rate at which Americans consume painkillers caught me somewhat by surprise. I am not talking about the fact that America is the biggest user of prescription pills mind you. What I am referring to is the sheer numbers which tend to show a country that is out of control . . . medically speaking.
However, and eerily similar to a pusher of illegal drugs, the pharmaceutical industry representative that Gupta interviewed did a obvious bob and weave evasion in terms of answering the question regarding the industry’s role in facilitating the epidemic. I only wish that Gupta had been more direct by putting out the question regarding the commonplace practice of off-label marketing that provides physicians with the incentive to over-prescribe drugs.
In January I will be airing a special in which I will talk with health industry experts about this growing problem.
In the meantime, what are your thoughts? Has the pharmaceutical industry taken over from the tobacco industry as the biggest threat to the health of Americans?