Shannon Christian

In this weekly blog, staff reporter Shannon Christian writes about the myths of healthcare and how it impacts students.

Dr. Germ: medication mania 

Pills, syrups, and vaccines. Prescription drugs are vital to the world as we know it. For many people, their only method of survival is based on these medications; if they do not receive them and take them as prescribed: they could die. Other times, medications can be fatal if an individual is allergic, or if they take an incorrect dosage. The potency of prescription drugs holds the fate of a majority of the population. 

With more than 131 million Americans who use prescription drugs yearly, one might assume that the industry runs somewhat smoothly. This is not the case however, as many issues pertain to legal and illegal prescription drugs. 

Beginning with the cost of prescriptions, many people are unable to afford life-saving medication without the help of an insurance agency. Insurance agencies however are unable to aid individuals in paying for medications such as those targeted for an emergency condition like treating an ulcer, or the insurance covers part of the complete cost such as with insulin. More than 9 million Americans need 2-4 units of insulin per day which can range in cost from $0.22 to $0.34. Without this insulin, many Americans would experience life threatening symptoms as they would be unable to control the level of blood glucose in their bodies. 

Another challenge that arises with medication is the method in which they are administered and taken. Many medications come in the form of a large pill or tablet, such as metronidazole, which treats bacterial and vaginal infections, or sucralfate, which treats ulcers. These pills can be hard to swallow, pun intended, which can cause an interruption in the care plan of a patient, especially since tablets and pills can have various side effects. 

Besides issues with the actual prescriptions, while some may find it difficult to access their medications, there is currently circumstantial abuse with the transfer of prescription drugs for recreational use. If a doctor’s office continues to send a prescription order for any drug, then the pharmacy can keep dispensing it, to whomever picks it up; whether they are a patient or not. 

Immense benefit is provided to the nation with the expansive pharmaceutical presence today, however there are definitely areas of improvement pertaining to improving the patient’s access and experience with their medication, as well as preventing medications from harming other individuals both through side effects or recreationally. The fight continues for advocates who aim to lower the cost of life saving medications, and for safer access to prescription drugs to be available. Big Pharma in the United States however, has created a system of completely dependent patients who must adhere to whatever the industry delineates, in order to receive the medications that are saving their lives. 

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