Iatrogenesis (Ivan Illich) is not a new concept… See references below. The advances in health have mostly been made by economics and infrastructure, clean water, sanitation, (vaccination programmes possibly but not for TB) and education. So why have we allowed Big Pharma to lead us by the nose? We need large mutuals with holistic thinking to improve health further. Caring for the elderly and disabled properly is part of this, but we won’t be able to afford it unless we ration, either covertly with more and more scandals, inequality and dissent, or overtly… The whole of the western world is suffering from the overdose of drugs, not just the UK. A pity Kat did not bring forward comparisons with France, or Spain or Canada.
Almost half the population in England is taking prescription medication, with more than a fifth on at least three separate drugs at the same time, statistics revealed yesterday.
Women took more medicines than men, even excluding contraceptives, with 50 per cent of women and 43 per cent of men taking at least one prescribed medicine in the past week.
The figures, published in the Health Survey for England, found prescription drug use rose with age, with 70 per cent of those aged 75 or over taking at least three prescribed medicines.
Experts said that the level of medication in society was “worrying” and showed a failure to tackle preventable diseases. They also expressed concern over the extent of multiple drug use, as the potential for medicines to cause complications rises with each additional drug taken.
The study is the first to report on people’s actual use of prescription medicines, rather than just relying on the number dispensed by GPs which may not eventually be taken.
It also found that half of men over 65 were taking cholesterol-lowering medicines, such as statins. Since the research was conducted, national guidance on use of statins has changed to include more people.
Women were more likely to take antidepressants than men, at 11 per cent compared with 5.5 per cent. While 17 per cent of the nation’s poorest women took antidepressants, only 7 per cent of the richest did so.
The NHS medicines budget was £14.3 billion last year and is expected to be £16 billion by 2016……A report from the BPS last month found 8,000 NHS hospital beds were taken up by patients suffering from adverse drug reactions at any one time.
The Health Survey also looked at social care, finding that 23 per cent of men and 33 per cent of women aged 65 and over needed help with at least one everyday activity such as getting up and down stairs or washing their hands and face. One in three women and two in five men reported they did not have an eye test every two years in line with recommendations.
Rates of obesity were at a similar level to other recent years, with a quarter of adults obese. Between the ages of two and fifteen, 16 per cent of boys and 15 per cent of girls were classed as obese, with those in the lowest fifth of household incomes more than three times as likely to be obese than those in the highest.