By Patrick Tamayo:
We live in a society that has developed a cure for almost anything in the form of a pill. It makes little difference what the ailment is—minus certain viruses and diseases. Have a back ache? There’s a pill. Heartburn? Take a pill. Have difficulty concentrating? No problem. Back pain? You’re covered.
In the fast-paced world we live in there is little time to figure out solutions, so we take the easy route and choose prescription medications.
A report released by Trust for America’s Health, a Washington D.C. based health policy organization, said that prescription drugs are killing more people than cocaine and heroin combined.
We have been programmed to trust doctors and medical professionals, but with the state of healthcare, insurance companies, malpractice lawsuits, the cost of drugs and the fact that we live in a capitalist society, it appears that like most aspects, it comes down to money.
Big Pharma made $711 billion in more than a 10 year span ending in 2012, according to a report from corporate filings by Healthcare for America Now (HCAN), a grassroots advocacy group. With the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, commonly referred to as “Obamacare”), profits are expected to continue to soar.
Forbes reports that the ACA will generate up to an additional $35 billion for the pharmacy companies. The drug industry was one of the main supporters of the new healthcare reform.
The LA Times reported that President Obama’s administration agreed with the pharmaceutical companies that there would be no changes in the ability for Medicare to negotiate prices so long as the industry did not oppose the administration’s healthcare reform in 2009.
This “agreement” made it possible for the pharmaceutical companies to charge our government pretty much whatever they felt like charging.
Pharmaceutical companies will provide rebates under the new healthcare reform on certain drugs resulting in less profit. However, they will still make their money on the back end as people who are forced to be insured will have new access to prescription medications.
The drug industry has grown out of control, and the ease of obtaining powerful medications, legally or otherwise, is a problem that continues to grow.
Recreational use of prescription medication continues to rise and addiction to prescription medications can easily become reality as our bodies build tolerance to the drugs.
Entire generations of people are medicated, and the future will be interesting as children whose natural brain chemistry has been tampered with for so long grow into young adults.
No one can be blamed for taking something that may improve their situation, regardless of what that may be—especially if obtained legally.
If we continue to embrace the overuse of prescription pills, as pop culture shoves it down our throats, the only winners will be the pharmaceutical companies.
No one is going to lose sleep over anyone who may succumb to the side effects of prescription medications. As long as profits continue to be in the black and our lawmakers continue to sell themselves out for political reasons, we will continue to be pawns in a problem that has no solution.
There are no simple answers. Big Pharma is here to stay. With the exceptions of kids, who are put on medication, everyone should be aware of any possible side effects.
Prescription medications, just like alcohol and tobacco, are completely legal and are pushed at us from all directions. And just like alcohol and tobacco, they can and will be abused.
Pop a pill, feel better, get addicted or don’t. The drug companies don’t care and neither should anyone else if that’s the road a person wants to take.
Although we have a choice of whether we want to participate, the simple fact remains: all of our pains and problems can go away—at least for a little while—with a small pill. Side effects be damned.