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Stat Dispensing Encourages Pill-Popping

Media Release
4 December 2003

Stat Dispensing Encourages Pill-Popping

Figures released by Pharmac showing that New Zealanders are taking more medicine than ever before are a cause for concern, says New Zealand First’s spokesperson on health, Pita Paraone.

“In the year to June 2003, New Zealanders were issued with around 22.4 million prescriptions, representing a 5.3 percent increase from the previous year.

“I’m concerned that with the recent return to three-monthly dispensing we are about to see a further increase in drug taking as patients are given large amounts of medicine, some of which may be surplus but is taken anyway.

“This, combined with inappropriately high doses of some medicines, is turning us into a nation of pill-poppers,” said Mr Paraone.

“A further cause for concern is the significant increase in the use of anti-depressants and anti-psychotic drugs, and three monthly dispensing simply increases the risk of over-prescribing.

“I call on the Minister of Health to review the decision to return to stat dispensing in the interests of promoting healthy lifestyles and less dependence on prescription drugs,” said Mr Paraone.


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