Stat!: “The Culture That We’re Steeped In”

prescription drugs

  • Percent of Americans who regularly take prescription drugs: 55
  • Average number of drugs each takes: 4
  • Fraction of age 55+ adults who take more than 5 drugs: 1/3
  • Percent of age 55+ adults taking more than 10: 9
  • Number of Americans who went to the ER for adverse drug effects: 1.3 million
  • Number of those who died: 124,000
  • Total prescriptions filled in the US in 1997: 2,416,064,220
  • Total prescriptions filled in 2016: 4,468,929,929
  • Percent increase in prescriptions over those two decades: 85
  • Percent increase in the US population during that time: 21
  • Amount spent each year on unnecessary drugs and related costs: $200 billion

Many Americans—and their physicians—have come to think that every symptom, every hint of disease requires a drug, says Vinay Prasad, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. “The question is, where did people get that idea? They didn’t invent it,” he says. “They were spoon-fed that notion by the culture that we’re steeped in.”

Source: Consumer Reports



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