Monday, May 19, 2008
The Associated Press reports on the new numbers of insured taking prescription medications. Linda A. Johnson writes,
For the first time, it appears that more than half of all insured Americans are taking prescription medicines regularly for chronic health problems, a study shows. The most widely used drugs are those to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol - problems often linked to heart disease, obesity and diabetes. The numbers were gathered last year by Medco Health Solutions Inc., which manages prescription benefits for about one in five Americans.
Experts say the data reflect not just an aging population and worsening public health but better medicines for chronic conditions and more aggressive treatment by doctors. For example, more people now take blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medicines because they need them, said Dr. Daniel W. Jones, president of the American Heart Association.
"Unless we do things to change the way we're managing health in this country ... things will get worse instead of getting better," predicted Jones, a heart specialist and dean of the University of Mississippi's medical school. . . .