Dr Chris van Tulleken tackles the issue of over-prescription of drugs in his two part BBC documentary as titled. He highlights the strengthening resistance of bacteria to antibiotics and gives a dangerous warning as to our future if we don’t curb our pill popping habit. But what of the solution? The TV program is well worth a watch and ventures into the frightening culture of using tablets to fix ourselves that we’ve all become accustomed to.
Over-Prescription – An Exaggeration?
Firstly, are we really taking too many pills as a nation? After all when we go to the doctor and ask for some antibiotics we really need them, right? Apparently not – as The Guardian report on the program states:
“Painkiller prescriptions have increased by 25% over the last five years, despite research showing that such tablets only work around 50% of the time. Five million people in the UK are on antidepressants and their prescribed use among teens has increased by 50% over the past seven years.”
Part of the problem stems from patients asking for antibiotics and GPs only getting a short amount of time (10 mins) to find out what the problem is and offer a solution. This means a huge amount of pills are being prescribed at any one time – indeed, Dr Chris calculates that someone born today might easily consume 100,000 pills during their lifetime.