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20 Shocking Prescription Drug Statistics

prescription drug statistics

Why aren't these drug statistics as widely known as they need to be? **Share YOUR Feedback Above!**

Prescription drug statistics … if you sought the most important facts you REALLY need to know from the prescription drug companies themselves, you of course would not find them. Drug companies have ranked as one of the top three most profitable industries in the world for years, so they certainly don’t want these statistics below widely known to dent those profits.

If you sought the the prescription drug statistics you REALLY need to know from the mass media, you of course won’t hear them there either — prescription drug companies spend $5 BILLION dollars on TV advertising alone, so why would the mainstream news want to upset and lose one of its best customers?

In fact, because the drug companies have the mainstream media in their back pocket, and preventative health is the enemy of drug company profits (less sick people = less of a market for prescription drugs), the big TV news networks are more than happy to support the drug companies’ war on vitamins, supplements, and natural health.

(BIG CLUE: See the statistics below on the prescription drug deaths annually versus deaths from supplements annually, and ask yourself WHY the mainstream media is portraying supplements and other natural health approaches as dangerous but prescription drugs as the savior of the world?)

Finally, if you sought the prescription drug statistics you REALLY need to know directly from the government, here are the three words that will prevent you from getting them: pharmaceutical company lobbyists.

At $270 million dollars in the U.S. alone, the drug companies’ federal lobbying expenditures outpace ALL other business industries and special interests. Like their counterparts in the mainstream media, the FDA (Fast Drug Approvals!) is eager to help their best customer by far — the pharmaceutical companies — by driving up your costs for vitamins and supplements astronomically.

They intend to do this by creating guidelines that make it extremely difficult for the preventative health industry to manufacture vitamins and supplements, amongst other attacks on natural health and wellness.

(Because again, if people en masse actually practiced preventative health, sickness would be dramatically reduced. The pharmaceutical companies’ entire business model depends on sickness, so their profits would be dramatically reduced. And that would mean less and less money for the prescription drug companies to shovel into Washington, D.C.!)

Meanwhile, just see the prescription drug statistics below — and please share this page with others via your Facebook page, Tweets, email, blogs, etc., because everyone deserves to know this information!

And then ask yourself, why aren’t these disgusting statistics being treated like the national (and international) emergency that they are?

Please do share your comments on this question above (click next to Comments), on these prescription drug statistics, and/or provide any other statistics or insights you have on this topic to help us expose the TRUTH to the world and wrestle our very lives (and our health freedom) BACK from the drug companies, the mainstream media, and the government!

20 Prescription Drug Statistics You REALLY Need to Know

  • Over 100,000 people die each year from prescription drug side effects in the U.S. alone. This does NOT include deaths from doctors accidentally prescribing the wrong drugs, nor from pharmacists filling the prescription incorrectly, nor from patients overdosing. It is from “side effects”! (Read Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs.)
  • The rates of death from these poisonings by prescription drugs has surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of unintentional injury death.
  • There are typically NO deaths from vitamins or dietary supplements in the U.S. in any given year. In 2007, the latest year for available statistics on this from the U.S. National Poison Data System, the sum total was zero deaths.
  • Prescription painkiller drug abuse, meanwhile, accounts for an additional 15,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. That’s 40 Americans dying each day, more than the number of deaths from heroin and cocaine use combined.
  • Pharmaceutical companies spend almost TWICE as much on marketing – around $60 billion annually — as they do on research. And what they do spend on research is largely for drugs that merely treat diseases, and compete with other drug companies’ treatment drugs, not drugs that cure diseases (curing disease would be highly unprofitable for them!)
  • 56% of this marketing is free samples, and 25% is “detailing” of physicians
  • A study by researchers at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that, on average, a 10% increase in direct-to-consumer advertising of drugs within a therapeutic drug class resulted in a 1% increase in sales of the drugs in that class.
  • Prescription drug prices keep rising — in 2010, the average price increase for brand-name prescription drugs was 6.9%. Some of the prescription drugs with the largest price increases include the blood-pressure pill Benicar, which saw a 29.4% increase; the attention-deficit-disorder drug Concerta, which saw a 19.7% increase; and the cholesterol drug Lipitor, which saw a 12.4% increase.
  • About HALF of Americans take at least one prescription drug, and one out of six take three or more prescription drugs.
  • Of people over the age of 60, 88% are taking at least one prescription drug. Almost 45% of those over 60 take cholesterol-lowering prescriptions – the #1 prescription drug for that age group and more than double the rate from 1999!
  • One in five prescriptions filled for those over the age of 65 are classified as a “drug of concern,” meaning potentially severe adverse effects.
  • Medical errors may result in between 44,000 and 98,000 preventable deaths and over 1,000,000 excess injuries in the U.S. Of these, medication errors are the most common medical mistakes.
  • 400,000 preventable drug-related injuries occur each year in hospitals, 800,000 in long-term care settings, and roughly 530,000 among Medicare recipients in outpatient clinics.
  • Antidepressants are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S., with about 120 million prescribed annually and used by about 27 million Americans. The most common market for antidepressants are those age 20 to 59.
  • Use of antidepressants tripled between 1988-94 and 1999-2000, nearly doubled between 1995-2002, and are still experiencing an astronomical rise. According to Dr. David M. Reiss, a San Diego psychiatrist, in an American Medical News report, “Contributing to the rise in antidepressant prescriptions are direct-to-patient advertisements that suggest many common conditions, such as mild anxiety, stress and trouble sleeping, need to be treated medically.
  • The proportion of non-psychiatrists doctor visits where antidepressants were prescribed without a documented psychiatric diagnosis increased from 59.5 percent to 72.7 between 1996 and 2007.
  • In 1999, 3% of adolescents were prescribed drugs for ADHD. Today, that number has risen to over 6%, making it the most common prescription drug for that age group.

The prescription drug statistics above paint a picture that is easy for you — and everyone you pass this page along to — to see.

Yes, some prescription drugs may be necessary … but certainly not at the ever-increasing volumes being ferociously marketed and therefore prescribed. It CAN and DOES brainwash people (many of whom are desperately confronting illness and therefore vulnerable) into believing that taking prescription drugs IS healthcare when in fact it is largely a band-aid approach.

A pharmaceutical industry that thrives on people being sick for its profits — and a government and mainstream media heavily manipulated by that industry — does NOT translate into anything remotely close to quality healthcare (and that is understatement.)

So do you really want to put the control of your health into what I will just bluntly call the three-headed-monster?

Yes, because you should OWN your own health — as much as they want to rip that ownership away from you for obvious reasons — you do have to be responsible in ensuring the insights, vitamins, supplements, foods, and other tools you decide to employ in your healthcare are reputable. Make sure the organizations you receive them from are reputable and have research to back their tools, for example.

BUT with the above prescription drug statistics in mind — and with whatever knowledge you already have about the pharmaceutical industry, the mainstream media, and the government — do you really want them controlling what you can and cannot choose to do with your health? Do you trust them?

Please share your thoughts on these questions, about this article –
and your own insights and/or statistics on this topic –
in the Comments area above.

And again, please DO share this page via email, Facebook, Twitter, your own blog or website, etc. Because I hope you will agree that these are some prescription drug statistics that everyone deserves to know!

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20 Comments

  1. Frank St.Marseille
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Hi I agree with this I refuse to take any but I do have an underactive thyroid so I take thyroxine

  2. Clifford Z.
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I am familiar with a lot of online sites that offer suggestions, assurances, promises and the like. I have consistently read your site becauseI’ve always seen “real” facts being offered by you, not vague promises which come from so many of the others who – by the way – are usually selling some sort of pill.

    Now, in this article, you are again giving facts, numbers and results from all the industries you quote. Although it’s logical, I never thought about how much backing these companies receive from our media – and – our very own government. It is quite the shame that people are so gullible as to believe the hype they are fed by these companies. I suppose, however, that after being so heavily indoctrinated, it is very easy to be brainwashed.

    I really have to commend you for the wonderful work you do informing the public. The stats that you presented in this article are literally mind boggling. Although I don’t know anyone in the category you describe, I will certainly remember your stated facts and pass them on to anyone I might come across who might fit that bill.

    Thank you again for all the wonderful work you do.

  3. Charles Rice
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Yes, it’s shameful what the pharmaceutical companies have done to us. Like spending a fortune on lobbyist to bribe and influence our congressmen, and spending a fortune on direct advertising to influence us to urge our doctors to prescribe those “wonder” drugs for us. Of course all the spending is passed on to us.

    But, I don’t find the “natural cure” industry to be much better. I am bombarded with advertising by TV, radio, newspaper, magazines, direct mail, and email. They all promise miracle cures that probably won’t be experienced by most of the participants. They almost always cost between $30 and $60 plus S & H per month, and there is usually a pitch with an incentive to purchase a 3 or 6 month supply, and often a sometimes hidden requirement to join an “auto-ship” program.

    So it seems that both the pharmaceutical companies and the “natural cure” industry is out to separate as much money as possible from us. And, of course, the elderly are the prime targeted group because as we age we are afflicted with more diseases, and pains caused not only by disease but by injuries and the wear and tear that comes with age.

  4. Tim H
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    In 1992 a law was passed requiring pharmaceutical companies to contribute huge sums of money to the FDA to increase the FDA’s staff so that the drug approval process would not take so long. The pharmaceutical industry had been complaining to congress that the FDA’s approval process was too slow for the pharmaceutical industry’s preference. Hence the law was passed and now these “contibutions” to the FDA make up over half of their operating budget. This hug and obvious conflict of interest has helped to render the FDA into a prostitute to the pharmaceutial indusrty. Do you really think they are protecting the citizens in the USA?! Although I am an American, I now understand that Europe is doing a much better job of protecting is citizens. In fact I believe that one way Americans can protect their health is to move to other countries. The corruption is much larger than you think, and I am not just talking about the direct, active corruption, but also the indirect, passive corruption that is rampant and is also cummulative and compounding. Why do you think that there was and still may be a push to stop the growth of online, free, public health information – because it endangers the business model of the pharmaceutical industry, hospitals, doctors, nurses, and etc. The doctors and healthcare workers are victims of Big Pharma as they have been duped or fooled by big Pharma. The Healthcare system or rather the Sickcare System is the largest single industry in the USA. Now that is power and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  5. Deanna Holloway
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    I am a person who has been subjected to medical abuse by physicians most of my life. Overweight at a young age due to a physical defect doctors never sought to help me overcome the problems until I demanded a basal metabolism test. My thyroid was extremely low, I was prescribed thyroid pills & lost weight. After marriage my doctor had to give me calcium shots for a “total calcium collapse”. After I moved and changed doctors, dentists I was given amalgam fillings in my teeth where I could hardly make it home from the dentist’s office and had to hang on to the fence to get to the house and hang onto the walls for several days to get from room to room. Then the allergies where the doctor gave me “Drixoral” which further complicated my life. Years later when the books came out about the side effects of that drug and others that were prescribed for me: “rapid weight gain” was listed on nearly every drug I’d been given. The doctor put me first on one diet and then another and finally diet pills, results: I didn’t sleep for three days and nights. He took me off those and told me: “I can see that you and your sister were just meant to be fat.” The story goes on and on until I have had three near death experiences and have forbidden the dentist from giving me novacain,the doctors from giving me Cipro, penicillan, any pain killers, sulfa, prednisone, etc. I have had my fill of chemicals and am trying to rid my body of these harmful products and study everything I can find about natural foods. As far as I’m concerned, God made us to eat natural foods and not chemicals. The FDA and the AMA along with the pharmaceutical companies are nothing more than conniving people with nothing going for them but greed and havoc. There have been many suppressed news reports that a cure for most cancer was found in the 1980′s and suppressed by the pharmaceutical companies through the FDA because those pharma companies could not manufacture those cures from chemicals and so they could not make themselves a lot of big money. Yet, Chemo killed my youngest sister, and Radiation killed my Mother and the pharma companies made huge money off of the government for overdosing both of them until my sister’s lungs exploded from Chemo & the doctor fried my Mother’s lungs from the bottom to the top,the last dose suffocating her. (Mom had never smoked!) We have to get back to nature and God! 9Like the last letter I read, they are so filled with corrupting power that they have corrupted our nation!)

  6. Deanna Holloway
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    I am a person who has been subjected to medical abuse by physicians most of my life. Overweight at a young age due to a physical defect doctors never sought to help me overcome the problems until I demanded a basal metabolism test. My thyroid was extremely low, I was prescribed thyroid pills & lost weight. After marriage my doctor had to give me calcium shots for a “total calcium collapse”. After I moved and changed doctors, dentists I was given amalgam fillings in my teeth where I could hardly make it home from the dentist’s office and had to hang on to the fence to get to the house and hang onto the walls for several days to get from room to room. Then the allergies where the doctor gave me “Drixoral” which further complicated my life. Years later when the books came out about the side effects of that drug and others that were prescribed for me: “rapid weight gain” was listed on nearly every drug I’d been given. The doctor put me first on one diet and then another and finally diet pills, results: I didn’t sleep for three days and nights. He took me off those and told me: “I can see that you and your sister were just meant to be fat.” The story goes on and on until I have had three near death experiences and have forbidden the dentist from giving me novacain,the doctors from giving me Cipro, penicillan, any pain killers, sulfa, prednisone, etc. I have had my fill of chemicals and am trying to rid my body of these harmful products and study everything I can find about natural foods. As far as I’m concerned, God made us to eat natural foods and not chemicals. The FDA and the AMA along with the pharmaceutical companies are nothing more than conniving people with nothing going for them but greed and havoc. There have been many suppressed news reports that a cure for most cancer was found in the 1980′s and suppressed by the pharmaceutical companies through the FDA because those pharma companies could not manufacture those cures from chemicals and so they could not make themselves a lot of big money. Yet, Chemo killed my youngest sister, and Radiation killed my Mother and the pharma companies made huge money off of the government for overdosing both of them until my sister’s lungs exploded from Chemo & the doctor fried my Mother’s lungs from the bottom to the top,the last dose suffocating her. (Mom had never smoked!) We have to get back to nature and God! (Like the last letter I read, they are so filled with corrupting power that they have corrupted our nation!)

  7. Lesley Scott
    Posted November 18, 2011 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    None of this comes as a surprise. Having had a lot of illness and 4 major abdominal surgeries I’ve dealt with pain and intestinal problems galore. I’ve researched and worked hard to stay alive even……getting out of persistent pain and dealing with the loss of 2/3 of intestine has been a challenge. However I use natural and herbal products only now. I know exactly how prescription and over-the-counter drugs work…..they make you very ill indeed.

    My main reason for writing this comment however is to say I’m from the UK. I want people to be very clear that the approach to healthcare here and in Europe is no different to the U.S. Drug companies here lobby and manipulate in exactly the same way. It is simply not that case that things are better here in Europe and the UK. People suffer and die in exactly the same way, because vested interests profit from this. Another insidious method of squeezing money out of people,especially after they have lost a loved one is Cancer Charities. That particular Industry, for that is what it is, just disgusts me. There are solutions out there that will cure this disease, yet they are ignored and the Chemo keeps on being churned out and people continue to suffer and die. I don’t even want to get started on the Food Industry.

    Keep on posting the Info ‘Lose The Backpain’. You are helping people to get their lives back on track and that is wonderful.

  8. Rosemarie Sinclair
    Posted November 18, 2011 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    For Frank St. Marseille & Anyone else who takes the drug thyroxine for thyroid imbalances:
    As a Natural Health Practitioner for over 20 years I have had plenty of clients with thyroid problems [particularily over weight clients]. There are much better & safer remedies – especially Homeopathic Phenolic Tyroplus. Thyroxine drug has to be monitored regualarly & never is. Sensitive people always have fluctuations bepending on their emotional life. Get a saliva test done – much truer than any blood test.
    Cheers to better balance in your life. Rose-marie

  9. Diane Stephenson
    Posted November 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for putting so much clear info in this post. I am 66 and take no prescription drugs and have, through my lifetime, taken very few even for temporary conditions. Pain is a symptom that something is wrong in our bodies. So, instead of covering it with drugs, the medical field should be seeking a solution for whatever is at the root of the pain. But of course, as you said, that would not be beneficial to the drug companies.

    Tim said “they have been duped or fooled by big Pharma”. He could add another verb there: bribed. Everyone except the patient profits by the sale of prescriptions. The dispensing fees alone are outrageous. I paid $10.00 dispensing fee on one of the eyedrops I needed after cataract surgery. How much time does it take to read a prescription, type up a label or two and attach it to the bottle and the box? What would that work out to at an hourly rate? And that is extra from the profit on the drug itself – a profit which is also outrageous.

    @Rosemarie – Thank you for that bit of useful information. I have had a low thyroid (not below the determined level, but in the lowest range) and was prescribed thyroxine. I took it for some time until I read that it could deplete your bone mass considerable. My mother had osteoporosis, and I decided that I wasn’t going to add to any possibility of ending up with that so quit taking the drug. Fortunately my bone density was good when I had it done last.

    You are so right, Rosemarie, that the doctors do not monitor the use of thyroxine nearly often enough. (They also don’t monitor blood pressure properly.) I did not know about the homeopathic alternative or the saliva test. I am going to make a note of that.

  10. Eileen
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    The more I read articles like this, the angrier I get. While it is true the media and the FDA are conspiring with Big Pharma to keep us sick, it is also true that AT THIS TIME we still have the freedom to say no. It is our bodies and it is up to us to do our homework before sticking a colored pill into our mouths. Ignorance is not an excuse because the more ignorant we are, the more the government will try to pull the Rick Perry stunt and force us to let the medical police force toxins into our bodies.

    Our bodies aren’t that difficult to understand. What would it be like if we paid as much attention to what we put into our mouths as we do our cars? We wouldn’t dream of putting carbonated sugar water into our engines; we wouldn’t dream of putting a burger that even the mold doesn’t like into our engines. We put good oil and gasoline into our engines. The point is we do our homework with cars; when we do our homework with our bodies, the medical abuse will stop.

  11. Colin Taylor
    Posted January 2, 2012 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    I watch what is going on in the USA with much disgust & trepidation . The government agencies have been totally corrupted & don;t have the citizens rights in mind at all. That other persons comment on getting out of the USA is the best advice any American can take. Its just to late to turn the madness around now. As for those that cant leave, learn to protect yourself from the madness & use the internet to research the truth because your surely NOT going to get it from your government or media.Ignore the rubbish you get fed from the TV & take charge of your own health.Avoid the guys in white coats & that crap takeaway food.Eat organic food & live healthy & longer. You have a choice !!!

  12. Myra Brown
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    The best protection from abusive practices and corrupted money making schemes by the FDA/AMA/Drug Companies is to educate yourself about your own body, you own diet (everything you put in your mouth), and your own health practices. There is a dearth of information in every bookstore, every health food store and online. Be proactive and learn. Yes, there are lots of ads online, on the boob tube and in reading material, that promote supplements. You can educate yourself and purchase those supplements that support your personal health and you can seek out a holistic/alternative doctor to guide you if you so desire. Don’t be lazy and drone on about the money making attitudes of natural health companies. You aren’t forced to buy their products, but, you can use thier websites to educate yourself on what ingredients they are promoting for support of your particular health challenge. Then you can use that information to seek out a reputable provider and give them your business. There are blessings everywhere if you are willing to do the work to help/support yourself and those you love.

  13. Myra Brown
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    See above!!

  14. L.A. Jandro
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    Some times Rx medicine beats ‘voodoo’ medicing. I was diagnosed with medistatic colon cancer. My oncologist put me on Zeloda. During an attempt at learning more about this drug, I found the mfg. Genentech had an assistance program. I applied and now save $300 co-pay on my drug every three weeks. The main tumor has shrunk by 75% and the rest is static.

    I know 100% is mental attitude so to help things along i know that I am in a perfect state of health and have no maladys that I wasn’t born with.

  15. Derek Wogu
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I have no doubt in my mind that prescription drugs do not cure diseases in most cases, they only provide temporary relief so we can continue to patronize the pharmaceutical companies and their cohorts. The Governments and the Media always support the use of these drugs as they discourage the use of natural cure processes.

    The facts in your write up are far reaching and can hardly be disputed by any one. I encourage you to keep up the good work to help reach the world with this all-important knowledge. In fact, if people can stay away from these prescription drugs and welcome natural healing processes, they are likely to live healthier and longer life. God gave us the things of nature and expect us to use them for a better life but we deviated to focus on prescription drugs that do not cure ailments but provide temporary relief with deadly side effects on lots of instances.

  16. Michael Burgman
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    I would be surprised at this except for the fact that it just supports the reality of our society that as long as people want quick and easy answers that require little self discipline and patience there will always be someone to give it to them, for a price, of course. As with most things if you follow the money trail the real reason decisions are often made become apparent. The sad thing is that there as so many who are unable to make any sense of the so called “warnings” given with prescriptions and are intimidated by doctors, so they are the unknowing victims. I have seen my elderly father come close to dying or made much worse from prescription side effects and crazy things like putting him on a blood thinner (manufactured drug) but told to avoid garlic and fish oil (natural) because they thin the blood! Thank God for the internet and the few other places where at least some of us can get and share the truth of what is happening.

  17. Scott Robertson
    Posted January 21, 2012 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Keep up the fantastic work! Greed and power will always rule, if history is any indication, but work such as your keeps hope eternal and arms us with tools to protect ourselves.

    Thank You.

  18. Andreas Plotkin
    Posted January 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Very informative post.Much thanks again.

  19. Denna Millard
    Posted March 24, 2013 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    I also feel I have been abused by the drug industry and psychiatrists prescribing. I supposedly was diagnosed as bi-polar 50 years ago, put on a lot of different drugs over the years and now wonder if the drugs caused this problem to continue.I decided to wean myself off the psychiatric drugs (4) on a sliding scale of 6 months and feel absolutely wonderful. My psychiatrist is not happy either!! I contribute my success to sanity by meditation and yoga every day.

  20. Michele Webb
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Following prescriptions make things easier for the patient. Thank you for sharing.

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