The rise of pharma sales and the impact on patient care
With United States drug sales increasing exponentially from one year to the next, it's plain to see that doctors are handing out more prescriptions to their patients. The question is, are patients becoming over-medicated instead of being treated in other ways?
Here's a brief look at drug sales nationwide and the role prescription drugs are playing in the field of medicine:
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Prescription drug sales in the U.S.
Global prescription drugs sales are steadily increasing on a year-to-year basis. However, there is one country that tops the charts when it comes to pharmaceutical and prescription drug spending: the United States.
According to a recent survey by Statista, Americans spend roughly USD$365 billion a year on prescription medications. That number increases 2.5 percent from one year to the next. As for the most popular prescriptions in the United States, Lipitor, Humira and Plavix top the top-seller list.
Americans spend an average of USD$900 per household on prescription drugs each year. The household prescription drug spending amount is projected to increase by an additional USD$100 in the next five years.
In the past, patients had to get their prescriptions filled through the hospital or a local pharmacist. Although this is still the case, national pharmacies are popping up all across the country, which makes it easier than ever before to get prescriptions filled. Walgreens, CVS and almost all local grocery store chains now fill prescription medications.
As the following article looks at, this Pharma Billion Dollar Blockbusters [Infographic] mentions the fact that both name brand and generic drug sales are on the rise. With the availability of local pharmacies, prescription drug sales are likely to continue to increase in coming years.
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This is also due to the fact that many pharmacies now offer prescription drug buying programs. These programs offer major discounts on the top generic drugs on the market.
Doctors and prescriptions
Although doctors put the well-being of their patients first, prescription medications aren't always the answer. Medications for high-blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes and other common health problems are necessary, but doctors sometimes overlook some of the more holistic approaches to health care.
This comes as no surprise considering there is a drug for just about any kind of illness.
However, doctors should use these drugs in combination with prescribing healthy lifestyle changes in order to truly treat their patients. Doing so will decrease the country and the world's dependence on prescription drugs.
Increased drug education
When patients are better educated on the drugs they need, it helps them make more informed decisions on which prescriptions to take. Doctors should have the final call, but it's important for patients to understand the side effects of the prescription drugs they take at the very least.
By knowing the side effects of certain prescriptions, patients will know if and when they're having a reaction to the medications they're on. Likewise, they'll also be able to tell if they are truly benefiting from certain prescription drugs.
When it comes to prescription medications in the U.S. and across the globe, availability and drug spending will likely continue to climb.
About the author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including health care and medicine.
Dexcom: changing the lives of people with type 1 diabetes
It is estimated that 9.3% of adults around the world are living with type 1 diabetes, which amounts to a total of 463 million people. A further 1.1 million children and adolescents under the age of 20 are living with the condition.
Unlike the more prevalent type 2 diabetes, where the body still produces insulin and symptoms develop slowly, people with type 1 diabetes need regular insulin injections or pumps, and must monitor their sugar levels frequently.
In recent years a number of remote glucose monitoring systems have become available that patients can use at home. These work with a sensor, usually placed under the skin, that measures glucose levels every few minutes. This information is then transmitted wirelessly to a device like a smartphone or tablet, which can then be shared with their clinician.
British actress Nina Wadia's son Aidan, 14, has type 1 diabetes, and has been managing his condition using Dexcom, a glucose monitoring system used by patients all over the world. Here Wadia explains how Dexcom has improved their lives.
As a parent of someone with type 1 diabetes, what is your day-to-day life like?
Being able to take a breath, think and pivot constantly without getting frustrated becomes an essential mindset because sometimes it feels like each day is determined to be different from the day before. Whatever worked yesterday is going to misfire today.
Which areas of yours and Aidan’s life are most impacted by diabetes?
The one thing that you have to fight hard to reclaim is spontaneity, especially when it comes to food and exercise. It’s only when this is taken do you realise how essential each one is. You can be flexible and there are no real limits, but only in the sense that a great athlete can be flexible without limits because they’ve trained super hard to be that way. So we’ve all had to become athletes when it comes to being spontaneous.
How has Dexcom helped you and Aidan?
Dexcom has brought future science fiction to real life today. The continuous glucose monitoring system is tiny, sits discreetly on his body and gives him a ten-day breather between sensor changes, so it's goodbye finger-pricking seven times daily.
Dexcom is totally active at a grass roots level and for Diabetes Awareness has pledged to donate £2,000 if #DexcomDiabetesStories and/or #DexcomWarriorStories is shared 200 times! I’ll be sharing more on social media and would love to hear how other families are winning their fights.
Maybe most importantly Dexcom is trying to introduce a reimbursement programme for type 1 diabetes patients which will give greater access to modern, life changing hi-tech. I want to spread the word on the importance of accessing it through this campaign.
If you compared your life today with how it was before Aidan was using Dexcom, what has changed?
It's always working, which lets him take his mind off diabetes for longer stretches. It also lets me get off his back. We both receive alerts so I no longer have to pester him by asking him what his number is, and especially importantly, I don’t have to wake him at night to prick his finger if I’m worried. Dexcom gave us back our sleep!