The Wall Street Journal reported that a study of prescription patterns in 2009, conducted by IMS Health, showed that 25% of children in the US were on regular medication.
IMS Health is a firm that provides “marketing intelligence” to pharmaceutical companies. The firm’s job is to keep the $800 billion per year global pharmaceutical industry on a continued pattern of growth. Hopefully these consultants accomplished something quite different this week. Hopefully they provided our citizens with an overdue wake-up call.
One in four children in the U.S. are on chronic medications.
And this doesn’t even include all the prescriptions we write to treat acute illness, or use of over-the-counter products. It is an astounding number. We either have the sickest pediatric population in the world, or there is something very wrong with the way therapies are driven in our health care system.
According to IMS Health data, forty-five million children are on asthma medications, twenty-four million are on ADHD medications, almost ten million are on antidepressants with another six and a half million on other antipsychotics. To some degree, every school shooting that has taken place involved these mood altering drugs. Soon after the terrible incident at Columbine in Colorado, the pharmaceutical industry lobbied congress to not allow the medical records of the perpatrators of these incidents to be viewed by the public. Why do you think that is?
A recent study by the AAP predicts that treatment of mood disorders will soon makeup 30-40% of a pediatrician’s office practice. To put this trend in perspective, an earlier study that appeared in the journal Pediatrics revealed that 8% of pediatricians felt they had adequate training in prescribing antidepressants, 16% felt comfortable prescribing them, but 72% actually did. This is just one example of the growing disconnect between rational medical practice and the way we deliver healthcare.
Furthermore, where do both pediatricians and psychiatrists get most of their information about these psychotropic medications that are now flying off prescription pads?
You guessed it…The pharmaceutical companies that produce them, through the hundreds of millions of dollars they spend each year on marketing and the clinical studies they fund.
A great place to start rectifying this situation is to look at what we are feeding our children. Sugar, refined white flour (the same thing as sugar), MSG, artificial colors (most of these are in one bowl cold breakfast cereal)…and the list goes on. Start reading food labels.
This is a sad, but true situation. It’s time for a change. Our children ARE our future.