For every ailment in today's world there is a pill. A solution in the form of a capsule or tablet or liquid with a concoction of chemicals inside designed to "cure" our misfortunes. Big Pharma has made their mark. As a pharmacist who's been in the medical field for over 10 years, I actually find this quite concerning given the pharmaceutical companys' primary motives for financial growth with little to no regard for patient safety and outcomes. The television commercials say it all. Drug companies are here to market, profit, and prosper off of sick people. You're of no value to them if you're in good health. This might be all well and good if the end goal was truly a nation, or a world, full of vibrant, healthy people who occasionally needed the help of Big Pharma to get back on their feet. But it's not. We live in an era where pill popping is the norm and weight issues and chronic diseases reign supreme. A quick look at the numbers confirms what we already know.
In 2011, a total of 4.02 billion prescriptions were dispensed at a grand total of $319.9 billion [1,2]. In case you were wondering, this amounts to approximately 12.9 prescriptions for every man, women, and child living in the U.S. at a cost of roughly $1,026.68 per year per person. Most of this isn't hitting our pocket books, not directly anyway. Insurance companies pay for the majority of the costs. In 2011, the average copay for 75% of all prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. was $10 or less thanks to the increasing availability of generic medications and prescription drug coverage . I could write an entire book on the statistics behind the legalized drug world, but I'll stop for now. If you care to look into the subject any further you can read the IMS Institute for Health Informatics report here.
What's more important is looking at what we're getting in return for all these medications. Or better yet, what we're getting in return for all the money being spent on healthcare in America today. After all, it's only a mere $2.7 trillion or 17.6% of our entire GDP as of 2011 . We are number one in the world when it comes to healthcare expenditures. Not bad for a nation who prides itself on lavish spending.