A follow up to “Pills for Everything” dated 7th September 2010.
This is the story of Pilly Galore and her GP, Astroglaxo. Pilly is 85 now and each new year brings more ailments. She lives alone and rarely goes out, except to the local shop once a week. Her only other regular trip out is to see her doctor, who she calls “Astroglaxo” after her favourite drug company. Pilly has had the same GP for 30 years. Although there are lots of new doctors in the surgery now, Pilly says “they are all too young and only training”. She always insists on seeing “Astro” (they are on first name terms) because “he can cure everything”. Equally Astro has a soft spot for Pilly and so never sends her away empty handed. Their brief conversations always end with Astro confidently saying “take one of these a day Pilly and you will soon be better”. Pilly leaves reassured until the next ailment comes along.
That’s the psychology of quick fix consultation today. GPs are expected by their masters – the Department of Health, to come up with instant cures like a McDonald’s fast-pill-take-away-service. Equally their patients feel cheated if they don’t come away with a prescription for something. Luckily for Pilly she does not have to keep going back because she can just phone up Astro’s assistant Pharmacuti and get a repeat prescription with the new McDonald’s express home delivery service. Thanks to Astro, Pilly has always got lots of pills in the bathroom cupboard.
• Every year millions of people are given unnecessary or inappropriate drugs
• It is estimated £400m of drugs are wasted every year
• Multiple prescription drugs often have side effects in the older people
• Up to 30% of all hospital admissions in the elderly are caused by inappropriate prescribing – British Geriatric Society.