Medications are over-prescribed in this country every day, resulting in serious side effects, and even death. Patients expect to be able to trust their physicians. When things go wrong because a doctor was too busy or distracted to survey the prescriptions a patient is taking and consider the interactions of those drugs, it is a disgrace. More than that, it is malpractice, and patients should seek the help of a local medical malpractice attorney immediately.
Prescription drug usage has increased by roughly 85 percent in the past couple of decades, despite a population increase of only about 20 percent. More alarming is the fact that the number of people in this country who take five or more prescriptions every day has increased by a factor of three in that same time span. Even more startling are the statistics regarding older Americans, nearly 10 percent of whom take 10 different medications every single day. With pharmaceutical usage at an all-time high, it raises the question: are all of these medications truly necessary?
- More than half of medications that patients receive comes from two or more providers. This is a necessary evil, since more people are seeing specialists for their ailments. However, it seriously increases the possibility of miscommunication and serious drug interactions;
- The average number of prescriptions taken by over half of Americans is four per day;
- Over the counter drugs, which may interact with prescriptions, are taken consistently by nearly 80 percent of people nationwide;
- According to roughly 35 percent of patients, no physician has ever inventoried their drug intake in order to eliminate unnecessary pills or consider dangerous drug combinations;
- Nine in ten medication combinations taken by Americans have potential health risks, half of them quite serious, according to studies.
Over one million people wound up in emergency rooms due to dangerous drug interactions and one in ten of those people actually died due to complications from their drug usage. A close look at the data reveals that about 50 percent of those ER visits and fatalities could have been prevented with more careful and deliberate monitoring of drug intake.
Issues with Legal Medications
Experts suggest that there are essentially three key issues with prescription medications:
- Taking too much of a medication;
- Taking medications that are unnecessary;
- Prematurely taking medicines.
Each of these problems has the potential to cause harm to various body systems, including the respiratory system, central nervous system, circulatory system, and digestive system. What are the specific prescribing issues that are occurring?
- The sheer number of different pills: When one medication causes disagreeable side effects, doctors all too often prescribe additional pills to intervene;
- Misdiagnosis: When medications are prescribed for a condition that doesn’t really exist, they can compound the original problems for patients;
- Pills as the first option: When the first choice given to patients is a medication instead of diet or other lifestyle changes, patients are exposed to potential side-effects that could be avoided by taking control of their activity and diet.
In addition to the physical impacts, over prescription of medications causes many Americans to skimp on other parts of their budget in order to pay for prescriptions. Astoundingly, one study found that unnecessary medicines and the ripple effects caused by them cost $200 billion annually.
You Need an Advocate
If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of over prescribed medications and their serious side effects, you need a legal heavy hitter at your side. At the office of Derek L. Hall, PC, we will aggressively fight for justice on your behalf. Contact us in Jackson for a free, confidential consultation today.