Ever since I started this blog in 2010, I seem to have been writing about pills. It is often a daily topic of conversation amongst elderly people, just like the weather. ( You can see all the posts on this subject by clicking on “Pills” in the Tag Cloud )
My first post on the subject was entitled “A Pill for Everything” and underlined the expectation that many older people have, that every time they visit the doctor they come away with another pill.
Now a recent study by the Cambridge Institute of Public Health has confirmed the dramatic increase in pill consumption that has taken place since then. Half of all pensioners are taking at least five drugs a day. A number that has quadrupled in the last two decades. Only 7% take no drugs at all.
This is partly explained by the ageing of the population and partly it is due to the introduction of new drugs. But one other factor may have made a difference and that was the bonus system that the Government used to incentivise GP’s to prescribe more pills!
Little wonder therefore that GP medication reviews, which are supposed to cut back on unnecessary drugs, don’t seem to happen as frequently as they should.