The Independent on Sunday—Pharmageddon: the prescription pill epidemic

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Britain is in the grip of a prescription drug-taking epidemic, with unprecedented numbers of medicines being handed out by GPs, costing billions of pounds and stretching already tight NHS resources to breaking point.

Prescription drug use has increased by 27 per cent in the past the five years and the NHS drug bill topped £10bn in 2006. GPs prescribed 918 million medicines last year compared with 721 million five years ago, according to figures obtained by The Independent on Sunday.

Health experts put rocketing prescription numbers down to medical advances, but also point to poor prescribing by GPs, growing public demand for a "pill for every ill" and aggressive marketing tactics by the pharmaceutical industry, which prompted one MP to warn that the UK is heading towards what he called "pharmageddon".

Paul Flynn, the Labour MP, warned that a failure to change attitudes would be disastrous. He said: "We are heading towards pharmageddon. The medicalising of society is convincing people they need a pill for everything. Drug companies recruit patients, particularly good-looking and articulate ones, to help promote new drugs in the media. Life and death decisions should not be taken by tabloids."

Read it all but before you do guess how many prescriptions a day doctors in England now make--the answer comes when you click.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

Posted August 26, 2007 at 3:32 pm

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