A report dated September 2010 and released by the US Centers for Disease Control's (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics carried the title above and documented the increase in prescription drug consumption in the United States. The report states that in the United States, spending for prescription drugs was $234.1 billion in 2008, which was more than double what was spent in 1999.
Some of the key findings in this report were:
- Over the last 10 years, the percentage of Americans who took at least one prescription drug in the past month increased from 44% to 48%.
- The use of two or more drugs increased from 25% to 31%. The use of five or more drugs increased from 6% to 11%.
- In 20072008, 1 out of every 5 children and 9 out of 10 older Americans reported using at least one prescription drug in the past month.
- The percentage of persons who used five or more prescription drugs increased from 6% in 19992000 to 11% in 20072008.
- Among older Americans (aged 60 and over), more than 76% used two or more prescription drugs and 37% used five or more.
As expected the report noted that those who were without either a regular place for health care, health insurance, or prescription drug benefit had less prescription drug use compared with those who had these benefits. Additionally the report showed that women were more likely to use prescription drugs than men. Ethnicity played a role in prescription drug use as the non-Hispanic white population had the highest prescription drug use and the Mexican-American population had the lowest. The study is available online and can be seen at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db42.pdf
An article on the US News and World Report website posted on October 7, 2010 asked the question in the title, "Overmedication: Are Americans Taking Too Many Drugs?". According to that article, "Today, a full 61 percent of adults use at least one drug to treat a chronic health problem, a nearly 15 percent rise since 2001."