AlterNet, Jan. 26, 2011
With childhood obesity on the rise, many kids are suffering from adult ailments. But Big Pharma's role in pushing adult drugs on kids requires a closer look.
Since 2001, high blood pressure meds for kids have risen 17 percent, respiratory meds 42 percent, diabetes meds 150 percent and heartburn/GERD meds 147 percent. Fifty percent of pediatricians also prescribe kids insomnia drugs, according to an article in the journal Pediatrics.
In fact, 25 percent of children and 30 percent of adolescents now take at least one prescription for a chronic condition says Medco, the nation's largest pharmacy benefit manager, making the kid prescription market four times as strong as the adult in 2009.
"Children are known to be compliant patients and that makes them a highly desirable market for drugs," says former pharma rep Gwen Olsen, author of Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher.
"Children are forced by school personnel to take their drugs, they are forced by their parents to take their drugs, and they are forced by their doctors to take their drugs. So, children are the ideal patient type because they represent refilled prescription compliance and 'longevity.' In other words, they will be lifelong patients and repeat customers for pharma."