A SingleCare Team study revealed the majority of the US population takes some form of a prescription pill. The insurance agency found that the number of people reliant on prescriptions significantly rose after the pandemic. In fact, medications for mental health issues are on the rise. The company reported a 70% increase in prescriptions for the antidepressant Lexapro, a 31% increase in Zoloft, a 21% increase in Trazadone, a 20% increase in Prozac, and a 16% increase in Adderall. The agency noted that the American Psychological Association reported an uptick in individuals self-medicating illegally with opioids as well.
Currently, around 66% of adults in the US are reliant on Big Pharma. Canada is in a similar situation, albeit with lower prescription costs, with 65% of their adult population on prescription medicine. In contrast, only 26% of adults in the UK and 35% of adults in Australia are reliant on medications.
Why are people in the US and Canada more likely to take prescription medication? One could argue the US population is not as healthy as other nations due to obesity and limited walkable cities, but that does not account for the large disparity. One big reason is marketing – but that does not apply in Canada. Only in the US do you see commercials and billboards promising a pill to cure the woes of life. It is not common practice in other countries for people to ask their doctor for a specific medicine.
This all comes down to business and corporate profits. The average American takes FOUR different pills each day. So over 131 million Americans are reliant on at least one medication. Citizens in the US spend more than any nation on prescription drugs, with the average consumer spending $1,229. Canadians spend around $879.
In addition to the billions Big Pharma made on COVID-related drugs and vaccines, they have also profited from COVID restrictions deteriorating the public’s mental health. In mid-June 2020, when many restrictions began to ease, SingleCare reported a 50% increase in antidepressant medication. The same increase was reported during the third week of March when lockdowns began. “Between the concern over job loss, isolation, and general anxiety, this growing trend in antidepressants over the past few months may well be due to the pandemic’s impact on mental health,” Ramzi Yacoub, Pharm.D., the chief pharmacy officer at SingleCare stated. Insurance and pharmaceutical companies believe the need for prescription drugs will only continue. Thanks to COVID, antidepressants are now the most prescribed medication in the US and the second-most prescribed medication in Canada.