Mass medication and the real choice to be made

Last week, a report by the Health and Social Care Information Centre was published. It was widely reported by the media with the headline “Nearly 50% take prescription drugs”.

The figures were startling: 16% of men and 12% of women are taking medication to impair their body’s production of cholesterol; 14% of men and 15% of women are taking drugs to lower blood pressure, with every likelihood that their blood pressure is entirely normal. 8% of men and 12% of women are taking painkillers, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pills; 8% of men and 6% of women are taking aspirin. These types of painkillers can damage the lining of the stomach, which can require stomach acid medication and indeed 9% of men and 10% of women are taking antacids. It’s not difficult to see how polypharmacy develops: More than a fifth of men and nearly a quarter of women are taking at least three prescriptions.

All of this costs the NHS £15 billion, at a time when we hear daily of the challenges faced by our health service and the free-at-point-of-service institution being close to collapse due to inadequate funding. One can’t help but think – stop medicating healthy people and save the money for those who really need it and everyone would be much better off...

 

The rest of this article is available to site members, who get access to all articles plus a weekly newsletter.
To continue reading, please login below or sign up for a membership. Thank you.