Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Use of medication has risen dramatically in OECD countries

The use of medication in highly developed countries is on the rise. Across the 34 OECD countries, the average use of antidepressants increased between 2000 and 2011 from 35 to 56 daily doses per 1,000 inhabitants. This was stated in the OECD report "Health at a Glance" published in Paris.

In none of the countries did the use of antidepressants decrease over the past years. The highest consumption was registered in Iceland - here doctors prescribed antidepressants to more than every tenth inhabitant. In Great Britain, the OECD attributes the rising consumption to the financial crisis. "These extensions have raised concerns about the appropriateness of prescriptions", the report stated. Antidepressants are prescribed more frequently for milder cases, such as anxiety and social phobias, and in general, treatments are more intensive than before.

The prescription rate for medications against elevated blood sugar levels was similar to that for antidepressants. Here, the OECD average amounts to 60 doses daily, and the highest rate was registered in Finland with 84 daily doses. The increase was attributed to the spread of obesity.

Over the past 40 years, life expectancy across all OECD countries has increased significantly and has now reached an average of more than 80 across the entire region. Among the 65 year-olds, a woman may, on average, expect to live another 20,9 years and a man another 17.6 years.