Thursday, January 24, 2008

Heath Ledger, RIP

Heath Ledger was a talented young actor with a bright future. We extend our sincere sympathy to his family and friends.

If toxicology reports prove that he died from a combination of FDA approved anti-depressants and sleeping pills, we can only hope society will wake up and start to take precautions to protect our innocent children and ourselves from similar fates in the future.

The media-driven mass-medication of our population needs more controls. However, patients and parents need to take more responsibility for the drugs they put in their bodies and their children's bodies by carefully reading the drug inserts, as well as the information most pharmacists provide when they fill scripts.

An obvious question: why isn't every filled FDA prescription logged into a national data base (patient SS number, date of birth, and address, plus prescribing doctor)? Fairly simple programing of this data base could instantly alert all pharmacists to question the prescribing doctor when filling scripts that adversely react with drugs the patients is already taking, as well as expose over-prescribing physicians, and most of those patients who go from doctor to doctor for scripts for physically addicting drugs.


Burton Goldberg said...

Another obvious question: why aren't prime-time advertising drug companies required to provide prescription drug inserts written at patient level, as well as the technical inserts written for doctors who happen to have advanced degrees in biochemistry?

Anonymous said...

Hey ET, You are on to something. The health care dollars saved by busting a lot of over-prescribing docs would go a long way toward fixing a broken system.

Anonymous said...


A national data base could also be used by physicians to monitor patient compliance. Only half of all scripts written are ever filled by patients - which can also adversely affect treatment outcomes.

Trust and improved patient/doctor/pharmacy communication are major missing ingredients in health care.

Jeffrey Anshel, OD said...

My sentiments exactly. Can't imagine any patient or parent trying to figure out all the intricasies of drug interactions!

And given the capabilities of computers these days, a national database is certainly achievable. I recall that one of the large mass pharmacies (Walgreens?) is promoting this so that you can get your Rx anywhere and they'll know if you have a potential problem.

The future is here!

Alex C said...

What a GREAT Idea. I agree that controls need to be in place on all medications but have to put an emphasis on "enough is enough on taking anti-depressants". It seems that these meds are sitting in everyones medicine cabinet today. Why is it not OK to have good and bad days? Is this not a part of our life? And what are we doing to our children? If a child, today, acts in somewhat of a different manner we (society) rush them to the Dr. for a prescription of anti-depressants......shame on the parent and shame of the Dr.... and we wonder why suicides are high among kids today. It is time to "dry up" the "anti depression medication habit". Please take time to read the link below:

Anonymous said...

I never that of it that way.....GREAT IDEA!!!!

Larry L. said...

Don't be naive! The powerful drug lobby will never allow the members of congress who got themselves elected with drug PAC money to pass a bill requiring a national data base of all prescriptions filled. Their mission is not to save lives, it's to increase drug sales at any cost because increased sales lead to higher stock prices.