This is the final post in a 3 part series, following an eye opening book, Our Daily Meds by Melody Petersen. One of the biggest challenges I have noticed is that for many people who are in pain, or suffering from symptoms related to degenerative diseases, is that treatment choice is often based on insurance coverage, rather than what is actually working for them and their symptoms.
Approx. 2/3 of Canadians have extended health care coverage, including prescription drugs. This makes it easier for someone who is suffering from arthritis pain to take Celebrex (covered by insurance) than to take a glucosamine type product that is not covered. Even though there are many negative side effects to the drug and none with the supplement. Having been in this market for almost 5 years, this has been the reason for many people’s choice to stick with a drug – EVEN THOUGH they are fully aware of the negative side effects and possible long term health consequences on other body systems. Even more surprising, I have had clients who have had significant results with supplements, but chose to go back to the prescription meds because they were covered by insurance – even though the treatment with supplements was more effective.
In the U.S., $728 per capita is spent each year on drugs, while in Canada it is $509. At the same time, consumption is higher in Canada, with about 12 prescriptions being filled per person each year in Canada and 10.6 in the United States. source
In my opinion, the fact that our prescription costs are covered by insurance for 2/3 of the population creates a complacency about what products we are choosing to take and why. Since the money is not directly coming out of our pockets, we may not be asking enough questions about whether a prescription is necessary or if there is an alternate solution (i.e. supplement) that may be even better for us. Often when people find out that we personally spend $120 – $400 a month on different supplements – there is a sense of shock and awe! Yet if we “spent” that much on prescriptions (which is very possible) to treat symptoms of degenerative diseases, not many people would blink an eye. One of the reasons we choose to take supplements now is to possibly avoid the prescriptions later on in life.
This will remain a challenge, especially in Canada, until one of two things happens:
1. More people are educated about the benefits of supplementation and the risks/hazards of prescription medications.
2. Insurance companies start to cover the cost of supplements OR more people have to pay out of their own pocket for prescription medications.
What is your opinion on this issue? Are you comfortable taking prescription medications? Or would you have find a solution using supplementation and lifestyle change? Is there a place in your life for both? Check in below in the comments.