Seniors are good for something! Pharmaceutical's Profits.

Perhaps there needs to be a study done to get some idea how many of these prescriptions are necessary and desirable and how many are just a waste of money or worse. As with many people I rely on my doctor's knowledge although I have looked up the drugs I am taking. All of them seem relevant for the medical problems I have. Fortunately, I do not have any adverse reactions. I am fairly confident without many of the drugs I am taking I might very well be dead years ago!

Study warns about seniors' prescriptions
Two-thirds of retirement-age Canadians are taking five or more prescription medications

ANDRÉ PICARD
PUBLIC HEALTH REPORTER — From Friday's Globe and Mail

Take a peek into your grandma's medicine cabinet: It may well be bursting at the seams.

A new study shows that almost two-thirds of Canadians over the age of 65 are taking five or more prescription medications.

That includes one in five seniors who are taking 10 or more drugs and one in 20 seniors who are taking a staggering 15 or more meds to manage a variety of conditions, from high blood pressure through to Alzheimer's, according to data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

“There some cause for alarm in that we see polypharmacy – or multiple medications – becoming the norm,” Steve Morgan, associate director of the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research at the University of British Columbia, said in an interview.

“Five or more drugs used to be a sign of inappropriate prescribing, but times have obviously changed,” he said.

Dr. Morgan, who was not involved in the research, emphasized that the data do not indicate whether the prescriptions for individuals are appropriate or not.

His underlying concerns are that prescription drugs are rarely tested on seniors, that multiple medications greatly increase the risk of dangerous drug interactions, and that there is little co-ordination of care and tracking of prescription drugs, in large part because electronic health records are a rarity in Canada.

“Many doctors who are prescribing drug number 10 have no idea what the other nine drugs are,” Dr. Morgan said.

Canadians spent $25.2-billion on prescription drugs in 2008, the most recent year for which detailed data are available. That includes $14-billion in private spending (private drug plans and out-of-pocket) and $11.2-billion in public spending.

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