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Wealth and availability

Updated on August 13, 2008

A guess

First of all, where did this statistic come from?

Secondly, do you want to know why Americans take more drugs, or why there is more availability of drugs here than in other countries?

The problem with a question like this one is that it's too broad and is generally used (it may not be the case here), to point out the Big Bad USA taking the world's resources, or being in need of so many drugs (as if the US population is miserable, sick, dying, or just really screwed up). This question is similar to "Why does the US use a greater percentage of the world's energy even though it doesn't have the greatest percentage of US population?" No one is actually looking for an answer, they just want to play the Big Bad USA game. The simple answer to that one is: The USA is the most industrious, most productive, is a first world country, and is the world super power. Of course it uses the most energy.

If you're really curious as to why the US holds 75% of the prescription drug market, then I'll try to venture a guess.

I am by no means an expert on prescription drugs, so this is just a guess. It is no secret that the United States is the most wealthy country in the world and prescription drugs cost a lot of money. That's the simplest way I can answer one take on this question.

If you're asking why do Americans take more prescription drugs than in other countries, then I can only guess again. To answer more specifically, I'd need a breakdown of what kinds of drugs are being sold, and what percentage of those drugs take up the market. What percentage are for physical illness, infections (antibiotics), dysfunctions, anti-depressants, birth control, pain, etc.

Because America is so wealthy, we can afford to take drugs for whatever "problem" we have, whereas in other poorer countries they cannot afford to have the more selective medications. But for other first world countries, like some European countries or Japan, I think you'd have to start looking at the culture. How often do they work, what is their environment like, etc. Also examine the soundness of the government. If we look at all the countries in the world, that means you need to include the Congo, Uganda, Iran, Syria, the former soviet satellite states, Mexico, etc. etc. all of which have corrupt governments.

To make this post not so long: depending on what angle(s) to this question your taking, it would take an entire book to answer the question to satisfaction.

The short version probably is what I wrote up top: America is the wealthist nation and can afford the drugs.


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    • Blake Flannery profile image

      Blake Flannery 8 years ago from United States

      Good response. In some cultures doctors may stress using one drug to treat an illness over using multiple drugs. Here in the U.S. doctors generally use multiple drugs to treat illnesses. In mental health, different drugs work with different neurotransmitters and on different parts of the brain. Newer drugs work on more specific parts of the brain. This is a good thing, because if means less side effects. The U.S. may have more availability to these more specific drugs. And finally, don't forget that the U.S. is the third largest population at over 300 million, leaving only two to beat us in plain numbers.

    • crkirchoff profile image

      crkirchoff 9 years ago from Washington


      Yeah, in most cases things are about money. It makes the world go round, after all.

      I would also agree that Americans do turn to pills to fix their problems, because for us they're so easy to get. It's kind of a vicious cycle. A lot of medications are very helpful, but others don't address the underlying problem. Doctors love to perscribe drugs, that's where they get a lot of their funding (I believe). If I have a problem I'd like to know why it's a problem and how do I fix it, not a slip for some drugs. So you hit the nail on the head on that one.

    • blogging2 profile image

      Rebecca Jones 9 years ago from Florida

      I thank you for responding, I intentionally left it open to interpretation because I think that is one of the best things about Hubpages and the request section. Personally I found your repsonse very interesting and I think you made your stance clear on that it is an affordablity issue.

      Personally I think that money does come into play but it is not that we are the wealthiest country but that our Doctors and Pharm. companies are the greediest and they have set up with the government and insurance companys to allow them to become not much better than the drug dealer on the corner.

      Yes, this is just my personal opinion, but I did find it interesting that your response also went straight to the subject of money. The only area I would disagree with you is when you imply that America is "healthy" in your statement (as if the US population is miserable, sick, dying, or just really screwed up). It seems that more and more our society is turning to a pill to fix the problem instead of other things that would be harder but much healthier.

      The figure came from an AMA Journal I was flipping through at a friend's. The fact that it was in the American Medical Association Journal is why I posted the request.

      Thanks again for the response!

    • desert blondie profile image

      desert blondie 9 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

      Nice response to this query.