Relentless advertising

Americans buy much more medicine per person than any other country.

At PBS’ Bill Moyers Journal, Melody Petersen says:

“A very powerful technique that the drug companies spend millions and millions of dollars on is hiring physicians to give lectures to other physicians on their drugs. It looks like the physician is up there giving his independent position on this drug, but often he’s been trained by an advertising agency. His slide presentation has been created by an ad agency. It looks like independent science, but it’s not….”

As a result of this corruption, more than 50% of insured Americans are buying prescriptions for chronic conditions.

Medco’s data show that last year, 51 percent of American children and adults were taking one or more prescription drugs for a chronic condition, up from 50 percent the previous four years and 47 percent in 2001. Most of the drugs are taken daily, although some are needed less often.

The company examined prescription records from 2001 to 2007 of a representative sample of 2.5 million customers, from newborns to the elderly.

Medication use for chronic problems was seen in all demographic groups:

– Almost two-thirds of women 20 and older.

– One in four children and teenagers.

– 52 percent of adult men.

– Three out of four people 65 or older.

“Unless we do things to change the way we’re managing health in this country … things will get worse instead of getting better,” predicted Jones, a heart specialist and dean of the University of Mississippi’s medical school. [story]