This idea was pitched by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These “patient kiosks,” as they call them, will require you to fill out online questionnaires and, with your answers, enable you to self-diagnose and receive a list of medications that need a prescription. You can get drugs just like a bag of chips, it seems.
According to proponents of this idea, patient kiosks will:
- Give patients a chance to gain access to medications without needing to go to a doctor
- Help patients and insurance companies save time and money by reducing health care expenses
- Give patients who are not being treated a chance to get treated
While this idea seems to benefit patients everywhere, there are several reasons why this may not be such a good idea for Americans.
Drug Dependency in the US: Is This a Healthy Approach?
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, if you take a prescription drug, you expose yourself to 70 potential side effects. Some of the most prescribed medications have about 100 side effects, while others carry as many as 500. With the patient kiosk the FDA is proposing, people will gain easier access to these drugs.
And this could be harmful to health, especially with Americans’ perception and use of drugs. A survey by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) showed that:
- Eighty percent of American consumers used an OTC medicine in the past year.
- Eighty-six percent believe OTC drugs have helped them reduce their medical expenses.
- Eighty-nine percent believe that OTC medications are a huge part of their overall family health care.
- Eighty-one percent use OTC medications as an initial response to minor ailments.
Furthermore, a survey by the Kaiser Health Foundation disclosed that the average American adult – ages 19 to 64 – takes about 11 prescription drugs. Now, even children and toddlers are now a showing high numbers in drug use, with four or more uses per child.
This reveals how dependent people – both patients and doctors – have become on drugs, despite the existence of safer and natural methods of healing, such as exercise and dietary changes. Sadly, while Americans are the most medicated people in the world, research published in Health Affairs tells that the US ranks 49th for male and female life expectancy worldwide.
Drugs are Not the Answer! Five Drug-Free Ways to Good Health
Dr. Mercola says, “There’s no doubt that the United States has been manipulated into becoming a ‘polypharmacy nation.’”
Polypharmacy means “many drugs.” It is used to refer to instances where a person takes too many drugs – either because too many drugs are prescribed than clinically indicated, or because the amount of pills is too much for an individual.
Giving Americans easier and quicker access to drugs is a misguided concept, according to Dr. Mercola. You do not need a drug to get well or feel better from a certain ailment. For instance, a study from the New England Journal of Medicine states that there is no relation between spending extra on drugs and improved outcomes.
Drugs should be used as a last resort rather than a first option, because your body has the ability to heal itself. You can keep fit and healthy without the use of drugs. Diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and obesity are just some of the many health problems that do not require any drug intervention.
Dr. Mercola says that these illnesses can be treated by working with a knowledgeable health care practitioner that can guide you through weaning yourself off medications and switching to natural therapies. He also advises not trying to do this by yourself, as there can be side effects from stopping certain medications improperly.
The road to wellness without drugs starts with a better lifestyle. Here are five steps given by Dr. Mercola, which you can use to jumpstart your drug-free journey to optimal health:
- Avoid consuming sugar (especially fructose) and grain-rich foods.
- Eat only unprocessed, organic foods, if possible. To learn more about this, check out Dr. Mercola’s nutrition plan.
- Add more high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats in your diet. One good source is krill oil.
- Get more sun exposure to optimize your vitamin D levels.
- Follow a comprehensive workout. A good example is Dr. Mercola’s Peak Fitness program.