The first time I visited the Hubster, one of the things I found most surprising was the widespread national advertising for prescription drugs. In the UK the manufacturers are not allowed to advertise prescription only drugs to the general public.
Over here they are regularly featured in TV adverts and every magazine you open is full of drug adverts. The drugs that are advertised seem to cover just about every possible medical problem and include: restless legs, heartburn, dry eyes, weight loss, high cholesterol, blood clots, overactive bladder, herpes, migraines, prostate issues and erectile disfunction (Viagra). If you're a Brit' reading this, yes you read that last one right, I was in disbelief at first too! They seem to have coined a whole new acceptable phrase here for what we call the inability ' to get it up' - Erectile Dysfunction.
But in all seriousness, some of these conditions I don't even consider serious enough to warrant a prescription drug. I had restless legs for many years and would never have expected my Dr to prescribe a drug to treat them!
All the adverts are filmed and presented very tastefully, although I have to say I do find the group of middle-aged men busking together and singing "Viva Viagra" ever so slightly disconcerting!
But what I find more bizarre is that due to advertising laws all these encouraging Ads end with a long spoken list of the possible side affects, admittedly read pretty fast, but still pretty scary. So an Ad will start off with a very 'Hollywood' happy presentation of how this wonder drug can change your life for the better, and end with the fact it could give you some very nasty named side-affects or even kill you "in rare cases". It seems to me you'd often be better off with the original condition than some of the far nastier side affects! They will then advise you to consult with your Dr as to whether it might be suitable for your condition.
I can just imagine how this would go over in the UK, where most Dr's are employed by the NHS and trying to avoid prescribing the new high cost drugs! I can also imagine the reaction if all their patients were coming in suggesting they might need a particular drug, because they had seen a TV advert for it!
No wonder the drug companies here have such control over the medical profession and the costs involved. With a thyroid disease I have certainly noticed the ridiculous cost of prescription drugs and no wonder, with all this high cost advertising going on.
In the UK there is a flat rate prescription charge that you pay for your drugs which is approximately $13.50. In Wales they recently voted to scrap the prescription charge altogether, and pregnant woman, children or over 60's also get free prescription drugs throughout the UK. This is funded by the National Health Service Medicines Budget.
Not long after I got here I had a bout of Athletes Foot and was given a presciption for a Lamisil one dose pill to clear it up. The cost of just that one pill was $220, as I wasn't covered by insurance I turned it down and bought a tube of the cream instead for $12!!
As I have said before here, I am not about to get into the medical system over here, but my personal opinion is it may give good care but the costs are totally out of control. A major reason for this from what I hear from Americans, is due to the government having little or no control over these all powerful drug companies. Maybe the first step needs to be a ban on all advertising of their products to the general public.
I have to say I still wouldn't dream of walking into my Dr and asking for a particular drug. But I would be interested to know whether the Americans reading this would?