Forty-eight percent of Americans are taking some sort of prescription drug. Ninety percent of seniors are taking at least one prescription drug per month. Is America really that unhealthy?
When it comes to health service in the United States, there are a number of factors at play. Pharmaceutical companies spend big money-in the neighborhood of $200 million-lobbying the government to approve their products. Doctors prescribe drugs to patients, and these prescriptions ultimately end up paying their income. Researchers work hard to see what works and what doesn’t. An interesting question, however, is whether these groups have your best interest at heart.
Researchers at Duke University concluded diabetes research emphasizes treatment more than prevention, meaning that instead of focusing on ways people can help themselves, researchers are mainly focused on what can be done after diagnosis. At this point, there is little that you can do other than pay for a drug.
The Duke University researchers also bring up the fact that seniors and children are largely ignored in the research process. The truth is that these groups could benefit greatly if more work was focused on preventative measures and disease management, instead of just treatment. With rising healthcare costs and limited resources, Americans have a lot to gain by focusing on prevention.
From a payer’s perspective, research from The Diabetes Prevention Program shows a preventative lifestyle as a cost-effective way to prevent type 2 diabetes. Over a 10-year period, the cost of a preventative lifestyle versus the prescription drug metformin was slightly higher, but there are a few factors that require further consideration.
For starters, this study looked at adults who were at high-risk for type 2 diabetes. It ignored seniors and children. This is important because seniors are often burdened with the cost of other prescription drugs to deal with health issues.
By only looking at the cost of metformin, the study failed to consider the various other medications a person could be on. Diabetes is also very closely associated with obesity, which can result in a number of other illnesses requiring medication, including pills for heart conditions.
During the first three years, lifestyle proved to be a far more effective method for preventing diabetes. The subjects who took on a preventative lifestyle saw the incidence of type 2 diabetes drop by 58%, while those who took metformin only saw a three percent drop in incidence.
Part of the reason there is such an emphasis on treating chronic conditions like diabetes with pharmaceuticals instead of promoting lifestyle changes is the money that’s at stake. For example, pharmaceutical industry watchdog Drugwatch reports that while the United States has only five percent of the world’s population, it makes up 34% of the money spent on prescriptions.
At the end of the day, prescription drugs are a huge part of the American economy. That’s why the big pharmaceutical companies pay 1,100 lobbyists to persuade lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
It’s quite possible that the healthcare system in America is working against you. But that doesn’t mean you have to let it win. Talk to your doctor about the preventative measures you can take to improve your health.
Source for Story:
Doctors Health Press [email@example.com]