As the human race advances and generates new and more efficient medicine, society generates the perception that science has the answer to our problems. A requirement for a doctor in the 21st century, is to become expertly acquainted with the scientific world, meaning, doctors know the most cutting edged science. If doctors know science, and science has the answer, the most obvious correlation would be that doctors know the answer. However, in America, this is no longer always true as doctors overprescribe pills and other medications to patients who don’t need it.This is primarily due to the consumerist culture present in America that makes society susceptible to pharmaceutical media and leads patients to the conclusion that the answer is always in a pill. Regardless of the potentially harmful side-effects, hundreds of doctors in America are driven to overprescribe medication due to hyper-consumerism, scientific progress and efficiency in the search for a quick-fix.
Overprescription, although very prevalent, is rarely seen in the media due to the powerful pharmaceutical, capitalist machines working in accordance with the medical industry to create and promote a strong consumerist culture in America. Its very unusual nowadays to watch television advertisements and not encounter an ad about a new, more effective, cheaper drug thats readily accessible at the nearest pharmacy. On The Huffington Post, David from GypsyNesters writes, “From what I can, tell those of us who watch the evening news are really, really sick. We need lots of drugs for our blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, depression, asthma, more erectile dysfunction, hair loss, blood clots etc,” (David). These advertisements put direct pressure on western society to go out and buy these medications regardless of natural, holistic remedies. In a 2011 advertisement for the sleep aid Lunesta, the audience is shown a few troubled, sleepless characters being cured by a relaxing, luminescent, green butterfly. This vivid imagery not only puts pressure on the audience to become a consumer, but after the long list of harmful side effects, the ad states, “Ask your doctor if Lunesta is right for you”, thereby indirectly putting pressure on the doctor to prescribe this medication to the patients. A simple issue such as restlessness, can now, according to Lunesta, be cured with a pill like many other minor ailments. Yet despite the possible serious personality changes that Lunesta can cause, David once again states, “These fast-talking laundry lists of the dismal things that might happen if we consume their products should put us off but we continue to consume. Even when the cure is worse than the disease, Americans seem convinced that we need more and more pills,” (David). In contrast, many doctors see drugs like Lunesta as unnecessary and take to more natural approaches. Despite the existence of sleep-inducing drugs, Dr. Kelly Baron, a clinical psychologist and sleep researcher at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, performed an experiment in which she proposed a potential cure for insomnia was to remain active and exercise frequently. In Dr. baron’s experiment, 11 inactive women between the ages of 57 to 70 were made to exercise for 30mins four to six times a week resulting in them sleeping for an average of 46mins extra a night. This experiment shows that a holistic remedy can be just as effective as a pill, however it is not a “quick-fix”. The hyper-consumerism fueled by the media forces western society to seek the quick, unnatural pill, rather than the healthier, less efficient remedy. The medical industry is just that, an industry. Instead of being driven by humanitarian values, the ideal american health system is now fueled by the values of capitalism and material wealth. Doctors are now pressed to overprescribe medications by the benefits that large drug companies provide. An article in NBC Chicago states, “It’s a practice that has long...
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