Jan 12 2020

Avoiding the Common Problem of Cascading Prescriptions

Published by at 12:40 pm under General

Avoid the common problem known as the “prescribing cascade.”1*

Instead of taking more prescription drugs to address what’s wrong, take Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ to stay healthy at the core.*

Americans spend about $1,200 on prescription drugs every year. That is more than what people pay in any other developed country. These are the latest figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. 1*

About one-quarter of Americans between the ages of 65-69 take at least 5 prescription drugs for chronic conditions, with 46% of those between the ages of 70-79 doing the same. It is not unusual for some patients to be taking more than 20 drugs to treat acid reflux, various heart-related conditions, depression, insomnia, and other disorders. 1*

As we get older, we have more difficulty metabolizing medications. Oftentimes side effects such as dizziness, nausea, constipation, confusion and even falls can happen and are often misinterpreted as a new condition, leading to another medication being prescribed. This “prescribing cascade” happens all the time and is why the pharmaceutical industry is a multibillion-dollar industry in our country.2*

As a nation, we have gone from spending 2.7 billion dollars each year on prescription drugs in the 1960s to 360.3 billion dollars in 2019. New drugs are always being developed to treat anything and everything, from diseases to ailments. We are a drug-taking nation and it is costing us billions. 3*

The United States has the highest total drug spending and also has “…the highest per capita pharmaceuticals spending among developed countries…” Drug prices are higher here than in other countries. For example, the commonly prescribed drug, Humira which is used to treat “…rheumatoid arthritis, chronic plaque psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and non-infectious uveitis…” was more than three times higher in the US than in Switzerland in 2015 The reason? In other countries, their governments more or less control drug prices. In the United States, we have a competitive marketplace, and as a result, the US market is more profitable for pharmaceutical companies and they are taking full advantage of that fact. The United States is the biggest producer of pharmaceuticals by value, accounting for nearly one-third of total production, (with Japan coming in as the second-largest producer.) The 10 top medicine producing countries produce 84-88% of the world’s pharmaceutical production. And prices keep going up. (2,3)*

Pharmaceutical companies kicked off 2019 with significant price increases. According to an analysis from the health software company Rx Savings Solution, the list price of hundreds of medications increased on an average of 6.3 percent.1*

A study published in the journal Health Affairs suggests that companies have increased prices on those drugs already in existence. “…“We found that, in the case of brand-name drugs, rising prices were driven by manufacturers increasing prices of medications that are already in the market rather than [by] the entry of new products,” lead author Inmaculada Hernandez, an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy says…”1*

Looking at wholesale data for around 27,000 prescription drugs from the years 2008 to 2016, Hernandez and her colleagues found that brand-name oral prescription drugs rose 9 percent year over year. Injectable drugs increased 15 percent per year while inflation during this time period was only about 2 percent. According to this study, research and development is only about 17 percent of all spending in most large drug companies. Once the FDA approves a drug, there are not that many additional R and D costs, Mainly, price increases can be attributed to a lack of competition and the regulatory environment in the US which allows for price increases much higher than in other countries…” (For detailed information about where the money is going, there is a good article in Health Affairs. See resource number 4 below.)1*.

Raising the costs of prescription drugs benefits the manufacturers and the insurers, but it hurts those who depend on these drugs, especially those who are uninsured and paying out of pocket. As a result, uninsured Americans pay the most, and this can lead to not filling prescriptions or not taking the medications they truly need. “…A 2016 survey found that 14 percent of insured Americans said they didn’t fill a prescription or skipped doses of their medication because of the cost…”1*

As long as we keep taking prescription drugs, these big pharmaceutical companies, the manufacturers, and the health care providers subscribing to them will continue to profit. And, it will continue to cost us more. I am not advocating that anyone stop taking their prescriptions. Many are life-saving and/or life-changing. But when you look at what prescriptions are being used for, it brings me back to the big picture of core health. Why are we on SO MANY PRESCRIPTIONS?  Can they be avoided? For many Americans, the answer is YES! But it takes work and it means addressing gut health first. *

It is so concerning that we have such high rates of digestive disorders, inflammation, acid reflux, skin conditions, diabetes, heart conditions, etc and instead of looking at gut health first, we get complacent and climb on the medicine train. And the “prescribing cascade” only gets worse and more complicated the older we get. So do your long term health and your wallet a favor and take a look inside your own medicine cabinet and do an assessment. Are you taking prescriptions that were prescribed to you a while ago and perhaps you no longer need? Are you eating a diet that is a healthy one and living a lifestyle that supports good gut health? Is your microbiome as healthy as it can be? Are you seeing the right health care professional that supports your health goals, and isn’t just writing prescriptions and saying, “next?”*

Look at the big picture. And do yourself a favor and don’t fall into the “prescribing cascade”, the slippery slope of too many drugs. Focus on your gut. Take your Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ and address your health at the core first. More times than not, it will take care of the rest.* 

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

www.bodybiotics.com

Resources:

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/10/why-prescription-drugs-in-the-us-cost-so-much.html
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/the-other-big-drug-problem-older-people-taking-too-many-pills/2017/12/08/3cea5ca2-c30a-11e7-afe9-4f60b5a6c4a0_story.html
  3. https://www.statista.com/statistics/184914/prescription-drug-expenditures-in-the-us-since-1960/
  4. https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20180726.670593/full/


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