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Patient pressure plays role in over-prescribing of drugs

Are patients driving the Big Pharma crazy train?

Americans are taking more potentially deadly prescription drugs than ever before — but if you want to understand why, you may first need to confront an uncomfortable truth. In fact, you may need to look in the mirror.

That’s the conclusion from a disturbing new study led by a University of Missouri professor that found that patients might be playing a key role in getting doctors to write prescription after needless prescription.

Researchers gave 175 parents a hypothetical scenario where their children were diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and were informed that prescription drugs would not work.

And guess what? The parents wanted the drugs anyway.

This study confirms what many doctors have been saying for years — patients routinely pressure them to prescribe drugs, regardless of whether the drugs are medically necessary.

These research subjects weren’t bad parents. They were just folks eager to relieve their kids’ suffering, which is something we can all understand.

The bigger question is how we got to this point in the first place. Let’s face it — Big Pharma spends billions on marketing each year so you will be convinced that you need their products every time you or a loved one falls ill.

(Shockingly, pedaling their drugs to you and me isn’t even the worst of it. As we revealed last year, Big Pharma has even stooped to the all-time despicable low of marketing directly to our kids. Read the whole stomach-turning story here.)

Big Pharma’s shady and aggressive marketing is putting patients and doctors in terrible situations — but don’t expect them to pull those commercials any time soon. Instead, we need to take charge of this situation ourselves.

Never consume a prescription pill before you fully understand the potential upside, the risks, and whether there are safer, natural remedies available. When your doctor says you don’t need a prescription, respect his expertise — after all, you’re paying him for it.

And to you docs out there — a little tough love is in order. No amount of cajoling should ever lead you to write a prescription that you know is useless (and potentially dangerous). You may lose some patients in the short term, but here’s the upside — you can’t put a price on a clear conscience.

Sources:

Parents Will Push for Medication, Even If Doc Says Not Needed: (nlm.nih.gov)