The American Recall Centre is running an outreach programme to raise awareness of the use of medical drugs in the USA and part of the outreach consists of asking bloggers to share the information with their networks during drug awareness week. Upon review of the facts, it is clear why: Did you know, the United States alone consumes 75% of the worlds prescription drugs? And that:
- 700,000 emergency room visits each year are due to incorrect medication use;
- Adverse drug reactions and noncompliance are responsible for 28% of hospitalizations of the elderly;
- 2/3 of all doctors’ visits end with a prescription being written;
- Each year 32,000 seniors suffer hip fractures caused by medication-related problems;
- Medication-related problems are estimated to be one of the top five causes of death for people 65 and over;
- On average, at least one drug is recalled every month in the United States.
These facts are staggering – research suggests that there is a rapid increase in legal drug consumption globally – in addition to illegal drug consumption – not just in the USA.
Judging by the published list of recalled medicines in Australia, there seem to be a lot fewer recalls. Is that because it is harder to register a drug in the first place? On the other hand, the misuse of prescription drugs has increased dramatically over the past decade according to the Australian Prescriber. The details will differ from market to market but the principle remains – are we too quick and careless in taking prescription drugs?
We need to take personal responsibility and pay more attention when taking prescription drugs in addition to supporting awareness raising initiatives. We need to research their background, their effectiveness and make the information publicly available. We need to ask detailed questions of prescribing doctors and find out about potential alternatives.
And what is the role of the World Health Organisation in this? Universal access to prescription drugs is a much debated topic, we need to debate the other side of the coin as well before other countries follow the our lead.
As usual, please leave your comments!