Some weekly health news insights….

UnknownAmerica is becoming a nation of diabetics. Not Type 1 diabetes, which is a hormonal disease, type 2 diabetes, which is a lifestyle condition that now affects one in four adults over 65 in the U.S. with one in three over the age of 20 prediabetic. The American Diabetes Association estimates that diabetes costs the American health care system more than $245 billion per year, in direct medical costs and reduced productivity. Worse, we can expect to spend billions of dollars more in health care costs for an increasing population of diabetics.  Even if all prescription drugs were free healthcare costs would still increase because we aren’t a healthy nation.

Few factors have played as significant a role in helping curb health care costs over the past decade as generic drugs, a report released Tuesday by the Generic Pharmaceutical Association shows. The report, prepared for GPhA for the seventh straight year by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, shows that since 2005, generics have saved patients $1.68 trillion. In 2014 alone, the report notes, generic drugs trimmed more than $254 billion from health care spending. Slightly more than a third of those savings were from generics taken by people over 65.

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Prescription drug use is rising across the United States. More people are taking medications and they’re taking more of them.  A study published Tuesday by researchers at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows that 59 percent of adults used a prescription drug in a 30-day period. That’s up from just 50 percent when the survey was last conducted a decade earlier.  The study also shows a rising number of people are taking multiple meds. The share of people who took more than five prescription drugs in a month nearly doubled to 15 percent.

Just think how this number could be cut down if patients/consumers took the time to live a healthy lifestyle?  What’s preventing it?  A lot of things, including the fact that Americans are working longer hours for less money and not taking vacations as much as European counterparts.  Our health care system focuses on treatment, not prevention.

On Martin Shkreli– For the life of me, I can’t understand why the media and the industry continues to focus on someone who is so far removed from being an effective CEO that it boggles the mind.  He has done more damage to all the good, hard working people within pharma and than anyone in recent history.  Please just let his time in the spotlight burn out and move on.

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