Tonight I had to swing by the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, there was a problem with the insurance so I had to sit for 25 minutes to wait for it to be corrected. It seemed like a regular Tuesday night, and I spent about 10 minutes meandering around the store, decided I didn’t need to buy anything (and since I am trying not to spend money on things I don’t need or *really* want) I decided to sit in one of the more comfortable chairs and read a magazine.
It was about 8pm and the pharmacy was set to close at 9pm, which I guess meant rush hour–all the people racing in to fill their medications before the end of the night. Despite there “stand back for privacy” line, I could hear every conversation from my little vantage point to the left of the counter. As I sat there for about 20 more minutes (largely waiting for the line than to pick up my order since it was filled pretty quickly) I was amazed by what I witnessed.
I counted 12 different patrons. The smallest number of medications for any patron was 3. The largest number was 9. On average it seemed like people were picking up 5 medicines. No one wanted “counseling” from the pharmacist as almost all the patrons were picking up medicine that they took before. This got me thinking a lot about my medication and medication in general. How medicated is America? How about the world? Most of the older people I know closely take a whole cocktail of pills daily. Is that characteristic of other people? I wish I had more time to do research on this topic as it is fascinating how many pills people take on a regular basis.
There are plenty of studies on how taking too much medicine is bad for our health (makes diseases resistant, etc) but what about all of the other medications? How can that be good for people’s well being if they are all on a bunch of pills all the time? And how frequent is it–how many people are taking 1, 2, 3, or more medications? From my night of observation at the pharmacy it sure seems like something someone should be thinking about.