19 March 2012

Is the U.S. population being over medicated on purpose?

Before we moved to Costa Rica, we stock piled several of our daily medications knowing it would be months before we would be eligible to obtain prescription drugs from the CAJA (the "Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social" is Costa Rica's socialized medical system.) All foreigners are required to join the CAJA to obtain legal residency. It costs about $49 per month for a couple over 55 to have complete medical coverage. Not all medications are available through the CAJA, so there are a few things we have to purchase from independent pharmacies. One of these just happens to be for acid reflux disease, and John and I both take the same medication. Both of our U.S. doctors had prescribed each of us a dosage of 40 milligram capsules, once a day. Last month we depleted our stash of this particular medication and we discovered this is not a drug available to us at the CAJA.

So, off we went to the local independent pharmacy to buy the medication and discovered 40 milligram capsules are not sold in Costa Rica. The same pharmaceutical company that sells this drug in the U.S., sells to Costa Rica, but only in a 20 milligram dosage. I asked the pharmacist if they could order it in a 40 mg. capsule and she said no, only 20 mg. because that is the normal recommended dosage.

Hummm.... Well, this got us to thinking, why not try just 20 mg. a day and see what happens? We have now been on this lower dosage for 2 weeks. Guess what? Neither one of us has experienced any acid reflux. So, what does this tell us. I think the pharmaceutical companies are pushing doctors to write prescriptions for high dosages of medicines just to increase their profits. How can the normal dosage in the U.S. be 40 mg. and the normal dosage for Costa Rica be only 20 mg? That just doesn't make sense. I think the U.S. population is being over medicated on purpose, for the benefit of the pharmaceutical companies, without regard to the long term side effects of taking a "larger than needed" dose of medication. What do you think?

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